4. Influence over Student activities

B. Extracurricular Student Groups

There are widespread examples of donor influence extending beyond the classroom into campus student groups.




At Florida State University, the FSU Faculty Senate revealed that part of CKF’s agreement required the creation of a student club:

The “Economics Club” conceived by the Koch agreement is not representative of the diversity of departmental curricular offerings. There were repeated reports that it promotes dogma rather than academic inquiry. Scholarships of $200/semester are given for reading books on a list developed by the Koch funded program, not the Economics faculty as a whole. The club website now shows legislative initiatives, an activity specifically prohibited by the Koch Memorandum of Understanding. (Standley report, 1.g)

Furthermore, the FSU faculty investigation recommended that the Economics Club be discontinued or restructured:

2. The Economics Club as constituted is in danger of promoting dogma vs. stimulating economic inquiry. There are 3 alternatives: terminate the “Economics” Club, retain the club in its present format but label it appropriately, i.e. “Free Market Economics Interest Group,” or keep the Economics club but ensure that it is representative of all types of Economic principles. If it continues to exist in any format, faculty should be charged to:

a. ensure that Economics students are taught academic discourse (formal rules of debate or deliberate, nonjudgmental voicing of pro and con opinions of issues under discussion)

b. ensure that all reading lists for scholarship money are determined by the entire departmental faculty without undue, outside influence (Standley, Recommendation 2)

At Florida Gulf Coast University, the activities of the BB&T Distinguished Professorship of Free Enterprise Economics, Dr. Bradley Hobbs, are stipulated by donor partnership between BB&T and the Charles Koch Foundation. According to Hobbs’ 2009 report that “With the encouragement of our faculty, FGCU students started a local chapter of Students For Liberty (SFL) which they named Eagles For Liberty.”

At Troy University, the Manuel Johnson Center for Political Economy was founded in a donor partnership with the Charles Koch Foundation. A student activity, now called the “Liberty, Markets, and the Great Books Reading Group, pays students $1000 to participate. The program initially bragged about its diversity, in that it included Marx. And yet, it is not currently listed as part of the curriculum.

At Utah State University, the reading group is called the Koch Scholar Program. The group meets:

meet on a weekly basis to discuss an assortment of select books, movies and podcasts. Students apply for the opportunity to become "Koch Scholars" and, if accepted, are given a $1,000 stipend. The program is guided by USU faculty members Dr. Chris Fawson, Dr. Randy Simmons and Dr. William Shughart of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

These professors oversee the Koch funded Institute of Political Economy.

At Michigan State University, a program inside of James Madison College offers known as the Koch Scholars meets:

weekly on Monday evenings during both the fall and spring semesters to discuss selections from at least a dozen important books on our topic. The agenda of these discussions is to engage critically the ideas in the books. Each Koch Scholar will receive a stipend and all texts. A light meal will be served each week, prior to the discussion.