How did they stand for it? Those who sounded the warnings became Cassandras, because no one wanted to hear the truth.
The progression went slowly, over decades while money flowed fast and free. The expansion of subsidized federal loans and lenient forgiveness standards meant that colleges and universities could hike prices as they pleased. In the early 90’s the Ivy League schools even faced a Sherman Anti-Trust Act lawsuit for colluding to set prices. (They had been meeting as The Overlap Group and were adjusting their prices based upon mutually accepted loan students. All but MIT settled before trial. MIT lost at trial.)
It was greed. All that money ensured that they didn’t want to hear about the creeping free speech problem, especially since it could jepordize their claim to the money. They’d worry about it later. And now it is later, when tutition costs are out of control, loan debt is crushing us, and free speech is in peril.