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.”
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."