A CONFLICT AROSE IN THE SPRING OF 2015 BETWEEN STUDENTS AND ADMINISTRATORS AT FLORIDA STATE
FSU students discovered that administrators were making changes to FSU's donor policy without giving any notice to faculty, students, or other parts of the academic community.
In response, FSU Progress Coalition submitted public comment in the form of an extensive report on FSU's donor policy. The report detailed the weaknesses of FSU's current and proposed policy (leaving FSU open to donor influence) as well as clear examples of donor agreements currently standing in violation of the current and proposed policy.
As you can imagine, the Charles Koch Foundation is the example used.
The FSUView reported:
Titled "A Student Review of Gift Acceptance Policy: Undue Influence and the Koch Foundation," the scathing report comes as the FSU Foundation revises its gift acceptance policy . . .
The Progress Coalition report emphasizes the hazy language within Foundation regulations in regards to what constitutes a gift and a grant, potentially allowing bothsides to benefit as gifts can be counted in fundraising totals for universities and are tax-deductible for donors.
"There is a double incentive for both the university foundation and the donor to count these things as gifts and this is the heart of the problem," said Ralph Wilson, co-founder of Progress Coalition and the report's main author.
Concerned faculty also spoke out, as the FSView reported:
Dr. Matthew Lata, a professor at the College of Music and president of the FSU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, said he was also caught off-guard by the Foundation's policy review. Lata says he has grown increasingly concerned as most of the faculty and student body were not informed of the process.
"We're worried about the changes being made because they give administrators greater leeway to define conditions under which contributions are made," Lata said. "We're concerned that changes are being proposed to the gift policy that could affect academic freedom." (FSView, 4 June 2015)
Progress Coalition's report recommended several revisions to the donor policy. Administrators responded, and actually adopted several of the student recommendations, though these were minor revisions.