The Latest from UnKoch My Campus

George Mason University released the report overview of the committee’s findings on their gift agreements.

After students exposed several examples of undue donor influence at George Mason University last Spring, the university's Board of Visitors commissioned an internal committee to review active donor agreements supporting faculty positions and current gift acceptance policies on campus. 
Despite the committee’s cautious wording suggesting that nothing “egregious” was found, concerned faculty are describing the findings revealed by this internal review as “serious violations of academic freedom, including undue donor influence and undue fiscal burdens.” These findings include contracts the Koch Foundation is party to.

We took a closer look at the committee's report, and have summarized those serious violations in one of our own.

 

the PROBLEM:

Undue Influence.

Donors are exerting undue influence on colleges and universities nationwide to further a corrupt agenda that centers corporations and efforts to roll back social and economic progress.

 

Our Mission:

Protect.

The vision of UnKoch My Campus is to preserve our democracy through protecting Higher Education from actors whose expressed intent is to place private interests over the common good.

 
 
 

 National Campaign: Private Donor Whack-a-Mole

UnKoch My Campus is dedicated to exposing and expelling undue donor influence from institutions of higher education, as exemplified by the Charles Koch Foundation.

To this day, Koch’s influence has included: violations of academic freedom, outside interference in faculty governance, violations of donor policy, conflicts of interest, misinformation, and anti-transparency. 

Our research often aims to determine:

  • what donations and programming from Koch's network are present at a given campus

  • whether excessive donor influence appears to have been granted over programming or hiring, i.e. strings attached

  • whether such influence constitutes a violation of academic principles, or the specific policies and procedures of the university

Our work involves engaging these questions with individuals, organizations, and media in the university community, particularly undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. 

Agreements with the Koch foundation have often been made behind closed doors, excluding campus stakeholders from any role in the decision. 

Since academic programming with ties to the Koch network are popping up all around the country, it is not enough to oppose specific contracts on isolated campuses. The preservation of academic integrity will require protections to be put in place on the campus level to guard against undue donor influence.

It will require not just vigilance, but an elevated role of students and faculty pushing back against administrators who would sell curricular control to private interests. 

UnKoch My Campus is dedicated to exposing and disrupting the misuse of the education system for private political purposes.

For more information than you could ever want to know, please take a look at our UnKoch Toolkit for Students and Faculty, and feel free to drop us a line.

 
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Our Commitment

Protecting Higher Education from undue donor influence is one piece of the puzzle in building a more just world.

Learn More

 
 
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Democracy in Chains

A recommended read for the inside story of the Koch network’s flagship campus outpost at George Mason University, which reveals the danger it poses to academic integrity and American democracy writ large.

Nancy MacLean is the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry  (a New York Times “noteworthy” book of the year) and Freedom is Not Enough, which was called by the Chicago Tribune “contemporary history at its best.” The William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.