There is no reason that taxpayers should be forced to OWN a university. The two justifications that are routinely offered for the existence of government universities do not stand up to scrutiny.
The first claim–that public schools somehow meet the needs of the poor in ways that private institutions do not–is shattered by measurable data. See here.
The second claim–that public universities somehow provide more freedom of inquiry than private (often religious-affiliated) universities–is likewise baseless.
Here is a story of how Portland State University–a public institution that supposedly is subject to the Bill of Rights–now drastically censors political speech that any person might find “triggering” or unsettling. Most of the views that are censored in this manner are views that question the state.
Modern government schools (like many private schools) have become dens of censorship and thought control. In practice, these institutions practice widespread discrimination against libertarians and those who disagree with socialism.
Also see this satirical piece in THE ONION. The mock newspaper printed a mock news story not long ago that now mirrors life on many college campuses.