Colleges Are Spreading Trump’s Disingenuous Notion of ‘Free Speech’
P.E. Moskowitz, October 16, 2019
“Over the past several years, the nonprofit UnKoch My Campus has collected thousands of pages of documents that show the true intent of these laws and policies prohibiting dissent: they are not meant to increase free speech, but are instead part of a larger strategy to turn higher education into a conservative thought and policy factory. The Koch family now funds programs, professorships, and student groups at over 300 colleges and universities, and many of the “free speech” organizations, that push for restrictive protest policies.”
Protesters rally, march during MIT Corporation annual meeting
The Huntington News
Nicolas Stolte, October 9, 2019
“Others led chants to ‘democratize MIT’ and called for the creation of a faculty-led senate who would have a final say in donations accepted by MIT. Organizers said MIT has not responded to their protests, a point of concern for them. ‘It’s mostly been radio silence, and that’s concerning because a lot of people really want to hear a response,’ said Nathan Foster, an organizer with UnKoch My Campus from Tufts University.
What Koch Foundation money means for the Universities that receive it
The Daily Tar Heel
Maeve Sheehey, October 6, 2019
“Like many large universities, UNC has received donations from the foundation — including a pledge of $3.4 million to the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program in 2018. ‘The important thing for you to understand about PPE is that in a state overrun by racially motivated gerrymandering and voter suppression, the curriculum and the context of this strategy is really critical,’ Banks said. ‘There’s a reason why North Carolina was chosen for this.’”
The Right Is Taking Over the Courts, and Trump Is Making It Easy
Eleanor Bader, September 30, 2019
“A report from the five-year-old UnKoch My Campus campaign, called UnKoch Our Courts, reveals that this is not a new strategy. In fact, since its founding in 1974, the Law and Economics Center at George Mason has provided more than 200 one-day and weekend “training sessions” for approximately 5,000 judges and 700 Attorneys General and their senior staffs. According to the Law and Economics Center website, these “educational” outings provide a chance for attendees to rub elbows with prominent right-wing legal theorists and business people as they discuss economics and public policy.”
#They Knew protesters rally against MIT’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
Kristina Chen, September 19, 2019
“The main goal of the protest, Mengiste told The Tech, was “to give a voice to serve the MIT community, and to give us a chance to respond to the events that have unfolded for the past three weeks.” She described these events as ‘symptomatic of a bigger problem … the fact that there’s no transparency with which the Institute handles donations.’”
The Koch Foundation Is Trying to Reshape Foreign Policy. With Liberal Allies.
The New York Times Magazine
Beverly Gage, September 10, 2019
“But national activists opposed to Koch money on campus remain skeptical about the foundation’s recent reforms. ‘We will not compromise,’ says Jasmine Banks, executive director of UnKoch My Campus, which urges universities to reject funding from Koch-affiliated organizations. UnKoch My Campus has not focused on the foreign-policy sphere, devoting most of its attention to Koch donations in fields like economics and law. But regardless of the field, Banks argues, there is no separating the foundation’s philanthropy from its founder’s broader political agenda, which is fundamentally at odds with universities’ obligation to act ‘with the common good in mind.’”
Concerns About a Big Gift and a Former Academic at George Mason
Inside Higher Ed
Colleen Flaharty, August 30, 2019
“Documents obtained by the group UnKoch My Campus and shared last week show that the Rouse trust ordered that the funds be used "as an endowment to fund a chair or chairs that will promote the conservative principles of governance, statesmanship, high morals, civil and religious freedom and the study of the U.S. Constitution.”
Can We Guarantee That Colleges Are Intellectually Diverse?
New York Times
Molly Worthen, August 30, 2019
“The organization UnKoch My Campus has tracked ‘undue donor influence’ in conservative philanthropy at schools such as George Mason University and Florida State University.”
David Koch is Dead. We Must Now Take On His Harmful Legacy in Higher Education
Jasmine Banks & Samantha Parsons, August 24, 2019
“David Koch died with a net worth of $59 billion. There is no doubt that his estate will continue to sow the same evils into the world that he did alongside his brother Charles. When one has this amount of wealth at their disposal, their money buys immortality; so for us at UnKoch My Campus, we will continue to organize against David Koch’s legacy.”
Koch Grant Sparks Debate at SCU Over Philanthropy, Free Speech, Academic Independence
San Jose Inside
Nicholas Chan July 3, 2019
“Jasmine Banks, executive director of UnKoch My Campus, a nationwide organization dedicated to fighting donor influence in higher education, claims she knows the answer. ‘It’s fiscal control,’ she asserts in a phone interview. ‘It’s using your donation to coerce institutions into your agenda.’”
Virginia Supreme Court Agrees to Hear GMU Transparency Lawsuit
Fairfax County Times
Angela Woolsey, April 5 2019
“The nonprofit UnKoch My Campus, which opposes corporate and private interests in public education, expressed its support of Transparent GMU as the group prepares for the Supreme Court.
‘The public has a legal right to access details related to the private funding supporting their public education,’ UnKoch My Campus co-founder and former Transparent GMU president Samantha Parsons said. “I am very happy to hear that the Supreme Court is taking on the students’ case.”
Organizing Against Koch Influence on College Campuses
Rebekah Barber, March 15, 2019
“Facing South recently spoke with Samantha Parsons, who co-founded UnKoch My Campus when she was a student at GMU and currently serves as the group's campaigns director. She explains how students, faculty, and community members nationwide are joining forces to build power, promote transparency, and limit corporate influence at the university level.”
Activists Are Pushing to Remove Donor Influence From College Campuses
Eleanor Bader, March 9, 2019
“The Koch brothers — billionaire businessmen whose fortune comes from the oil and gas industries, and whose gospel of unregulated capitalism has been promulgated through a network of groups — have far-reaching tentacles that extend into academia. In fact, a report released in October 2018 by the Center for Biological Diversity and UnKoch My Campus revealed that the Charles Koch Foundation has, in recent years, donated $200 million to support 800 faculty positions on 300 campuses throughout the U.S.”
School’s Out Forever: Authoritarians all over the world are targeting universities.
Rosa Schwartzburg, February 20, 2019
“A few organizations—such as the American Association of University Professors, the Network of Concerned Academics, the UnKoch My Campus movement in the U.S., and the Szabad Egyetem/Free University student group in Hungary—are fighting back with some success. But history is clear: If we don’t dedicate ourselves to defending our universities, our democracies will erode even further. Educational institutions and individual academics, despite their flawed structures or practices, are vital to our salvation.”
Nonprofit report recommends USU cuts ties with Koch Foundation
The Utah Statesman
Alison Berg & Carter Moore, October 29, 2018
“A report released on Tuesday by nonprofits UnKoch My Campus and the Center for Biological Diversity recommends Utah State University ‘should immediately rescind its agreement with the Charles Koch Foundation and disaffiliate itself from the Center for Growth and Opportunity.’”
Duke is getting Koch money: That should worry you
Eladio Bobadilla, September 24, 2018
“Earlier this year, UnKoch My Campus exposed a network of neo-confederate academics across the nation receiving over $14 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, including professors with ties to the white supremacist group League of the South. These academics are advancing a market-fundamentalist, anti-civil rights ideology that is also fueling the violent Alt-Right: the Austrian school of economics.”
Koch-Funded Think Tank Linked to George Mason University Is Now Pretending It’s Not Part of George Mason University
David Dayen, September 19th, 2018
“Samantha Parsons, a George Mason alum and co-founder of UnKoch My Campus, believes that Mercatus’s ties to the university allow the organization to essentially launder its agenda so it appears more objective. ‘It’s always described as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University,’ Parsons said. ‘Just that automatically lends comfort to the public, that it’s associated with the university, not biased.’”
The Charles Koch Foundation paid to pull strings at George Mason. It’s time for transparency.
Editorial Board, May 6, 2018
“Prodded by a Freedom of Information Act request from UnKoch My Campus, the university has released documents showing the conservative Koch Foundation had been given a voice in faculty selection and evaluation. The agreements released by George Mason showed the Koch Foundation enjoyed the right to name members of a selection committee that could recommend appointment of professors at the school’s Mercatus Center for free-market research.”
Balancing Act: Can Koch Giving Bolster a Corporate Brand While Pushing a Libertarian Agenda?
Mike Scutari, March 6, 2017
"To the degree that these ideas have greater traction in U.S. society and public policy, Koch Industries will face less regulatory oversight, and the Kochs themselves may pay less in taxes. Even if you believe that Charles Koch is committed to his views for the sake of principle, it's hard to not see Koch donations on college campuses as a form of interested money. Which helps explain why these gifts continue to draw enormous pushback, with the group UnKoch My Campus leading the charge. "
UnKoch My Campus:
Opposing Billionaires' Efforts to Infiltrate Higher Education
Eleanor Bader, Dec 7, 2016
"By all accounts, fighting the 'Kochtopus' and the growing corporatization of academia will be a steep climb for the foreseeable future, but UnKoch My Campus activists are optimistic. [Lindsey] Berger cites increasing numbers of faculty members across the country who are revisiting policies to make sure that they have a say in governance, faculty hiring and procedures that both directly and indirectly impact education. 'They understand the reach of funding agreements and are looking at stipulations that donors place on grants,' she says."
Koch brothers supersize higher-ed spending
Center for Public Integrity (December 2015)
Suffolk University cuts ties with conservative
research group, Boston Globe (December 2015)
Koch brothers pour millions into education to promote libertarian ideas
Center for Public Integrity (October 2015)
“The [Koch] network is fully integrated, so it’s not just work at the universities with the students, but it’s also building state-based capabilities and election capabilities and integrating this talent pipeline,” he said.
“So you can see how this is useful to each other over time,” he continued. “No one else has this infrastructure. We’re very excited about doing it.” - Kevin Gentry, vice president of the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
Sunshine and the Koch Foundation
The Wall Street Journal (April 2015)
"We [UnKoch My Campus} do not seek to stifle debate on campus, nor do we discourage private donations from anyone. We welcome the debate; we just want to know whom we’re debating."
Koch Funding of Universities Shrouded in Mystery
PR Watch (April 2015)
"Our work with UnKochMyCampus has shown us that transparency removes the smoke and mirrors that cloud the debate, leaving ordinary people ill-equipped to develop informed opinions on research and policy around the most important issues of the day. Our policy is being shaped by corporations, for corporations - and that’s a huge problem."
The Campus Climate Crusade
Wall Street Journal (March 2015)
"Disclosure is becoming the left’s new weapon. And it’s shutting down debate across the country."
Koch foundation proposal to college:
Teach our curriculum, get millions
Center for Public Integrity (September 2014)
"In 2007, when the Charles Koch Foundation considered giving millions of dollars to Florida State University's economics department, the offer came with strings attached.
First, the curriculum it funded must align with the libertarian, deregulatory economic philosophy of Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and Republican political bankroller.
Second, the Charles Koch Foundation would at least partially control which faculty members Florida State University hired.
And third, Bruce Benson, a prominent libertarian economic theorist and Florida State University economics department chairman, must stay on another three years as department chairman - even though he told his wife he'd step down in 2009 after one three-year term."
Koch Foundation Criticized Again for Influencing Florida State
NPR (May 2014):
"RUDY FICHTENBAUM: You know, it amounts to the Koch Brothers' foundation basically trying to buy a position on the faculty [at Florida State University]. And that certainly is a threat to academic freedom."
"Inside the Koch Brothers' campus crusade,"
Center for Public Integrity (March 2014):
"In all, two of the six private charitable foundations the Koch Brothers control and personally fund combined in 2012 to infuse colleges and universities with more than $12.7 million, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internal Revenue service tax filings."
"In 2012, the Koch foundations sent six- or seven-figure donations to 12 colleges and universities, including big-name schools such as George Mason University in Virginia, Southern Methodist University in Texas, West Virginia University, Florida State University, Utah State University, Kansas State University and the University of Arizona."
Charles Koch's Wall Street Journal Op-eds (2014):
"Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished."
"Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal."
Covert Operations (August 2010):
"Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch - who, years ago, bought out two other brother - among the richest men in America."