Statement on David Koch’s Death

While David Koch may be gone, his anti-democratic legacy lives on in higher education and the infrastructure of influence his wealth created.

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Our public schools are being infiltrated by Koch at every level, from manufacturing a false crisissurrounding public education to influencing K-12 curriculum in school districts across the country. In addition to this, they are directly lobbying to lawmakers in support of these destructive efforts.

The Koch network is investing in university programs across the country, and the Charles Koch Foundation has a history of using its university donations to buy influence over hiring decisions, curriculum, and research on campus.

Holy Cross has already received $1.4 million dollars from the Charles Koch Foundation in the form of a Foundation donation to the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society.

The Koch Network is investing in university programs across the country, and the Charles Koch Foundation has a history of using its university donations to buy influence over hiring decisions, curriculum, and research on campus.

Arizona State has already received over $2 million from the Charles Koch Foundation directly—and MILLIONS more of taxpayer dollars have been given to its Koch-funded Freedom Centers over the past three years. Despite ongoing controversy surrounding the university’s Freedom Centers, ASU has refused to honor public records requests seeking details about its relationship with Koch FOR OVER A YEAR.

 

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, Resources and Reports tabs (above), UnKoch Toolkit for Students and Faculty, or 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.