3. Donor Influence over Programming
A. "Performance Obligations" and Constrained Inquiry
In order to comply with the Charles Koch Foundation's “Objectives and Purposes” or any highly similar and predefined "Mission(s)" of the various Koch funded programs, the persons hired must undertake considerable activities dictated by the donor. Several contracts refer to these as "Performance Obligations."
The activities expected of the persons hired by the Koch foundation are partly laid out in the provisions of the contracts. Several contracts require the persons hired to pursue very specific lines of inquiry, ones that have been specifically cultivated for political use by Koch's donor network and their smorgasbord of think tanks and political groups.
A prominent requirement of the Koch foundation has been the study of "Economic Freedom" which, rather than simply being an abstract economic concept, is a very specific proprietary "Economic Freedom Index" developed by (Koch funded) academics at two (Koch funded) think tanks, the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation.
The most current incarnation of this is the requirement that the programs study "Well Being." Under other circumstances, this requirement might not seem very, concerning. In this case, there are recordings of Koch foundation officials and several Koch funded academics describing the use of "well-being" for cover language for free-market capitalism and Economic Freedom. A professor at Wake Forest University explained to political donors how reframing “capitalism” as “well-being” is a “game changer.” He then told an anecdote about using this language to mislead a “liberal” colleague.
At Florida State University, the “Professorship Positions” established by CKF are required to comply with the Koch foundation's Objectives and Purposes:
The purpose of the Affiliated Programs and Positions is to advance the understanding and practice of those free voluntary processes and principles that promote social progress, human well-being, individual freedom, opportunity and prosperity based on the rule of law, constitutional government, private property and the laws, regulations, organizations, institutions and social norms upon which they rely. (2008 and 2013 FSU MOU, Section 1.a)
The "Performance Obligations of Professorship Positions" include:
(i) Individuals holding the Donor Supported Faculty Positions agree to support the Objectives and Purposes as set forth in Section 1(a) above and to complete the following activities in accordance with these Objectives and Purposes.
(ii) The objective of the Professorship Positions will be accomplished through research, teaching, publishing, print and electronic media, and other means as may reasonably be deemed to comport with the mission of FSU and the [Study of Political Economy and Free Enterprise] Program.
(iii) Reporting. At the conclusion of each academic year, the Economics Department and Stavros Center will provide the SPEFE-EEE Advisory Board with a brief summary of the principal activities and accomplishments of the SPEFE and EEE Programs in the previous year, including information on publications, presentations, courses taught, students supervised, and outreach activities. The report will also include information about how those activities have advanced the Objectives and Purposes set forth in Section 1(a). . .
(iv) Reviews. . . . they will have included in the services component of their annual review by the FSU Department of Economics an evaluation of their performance at advancing the objectives of this Memorandum (detailed in the Objectives and Purposed set forth in Section 1(a) above), including research and other scholarly activities related to the specific purpose of the Memorandum, the cooperation and collaboration with other positions affiliated with the Memorandum, and the support and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students affiliated with this Memorandum. (2008 and 2013 FSU MOU, Section 3.e)
At Utah State University, the 2008 MOU creates donor funded positions called “the Professors,” and the expectations required for compliance with Koch's Objectives and Purposes and how they are expected to be carried out:
1. Objectives and Purposes
(a) The purpose of the support for the Professors is to advance the understanding and practice of those free voluntary processes and principles that promote social progress, human well-being, individual freedom, opportunity and prosperity based on the rule of law, constitutional government, private property and the laws, regulations, organizations, institutions and social norms upon which they rely. These goals will be pursued by supplementing the academic talent currently at USU to create a strong program that will focus on building upon and expanding research and teaching efforts related to individual freedom, social progress and human well-being. The Parties seek to strengthen the foundation that exists at USU and extend efforts related to the research, publication, education, dissemination and academic and public appreciation of individual freedom, social progress and human well-being.
(b) The Parties acknowledge that effective achievement of the Objectives and Purposes requires a concentration of complementary and cooperative talent and skills. Accordingly, in furtherance of the Objectives and Purposes, USU will make every reasonable effort to recruit and maintain individuals to be the Professors who support and have demonstrated advancement of, or show the promise of working effectively in collaborative efforts to advance the Objectives and Purposes. The Parties expect that the research of the Professors will compliment, inform and build upon USU's existing strengths in business, financed, economics, institutions and property rights as they related to and inform the foundations of prosperity, social progress and human well-being. . . .(USU 2008 MOU, Section 1)
At Clemson University, the 2009 MOU requires that the “Donor Supported Faculty Positions” comply with the Objectives and Purposes, which include:
research, publication, dissemination, teaching, and continued academic and public use of the and support the research into the causes, measurements, impact, and appreciation of economic freedom. (Clemson 2008 MOU, Section I.a )
Several related "Performance Obligations" elaborate the required activities:
(a) Faculty Performance Obligations. Individuals holding the Donor Supported Faculty Positions agree to support the Objectives and Purposes as set forth in Section 1(a) above and to conduct scholarly research and teaching as appropriate for the faculty rank.
(b) Dissemination. The scholarly work of the Donor Provided Faculty Position will be disseminated through research, teaching, special speaking engagements, publishing (both print and electronic media) and other means as may reasonably be deemed to comport with the mission of the University and [Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism]
(c) Reporting. On or before the conclusion of each academic year, University shall provide CGK Foundation with a summary of the principal activities and accomplishments of the Donor Supported Faculty Positions during this academic year, including information on publications, presentations, courses taught, students supervised, and outreach activities, and such other information as CGK Foundation may reasonably request. The report will also include information about how those activities have advanced the Objectives and Purposes set forth in Section 1(a) (Clemson 2008 MOU, Section III)
At West Virginia University, one of the “Donor Supported Professorship Positions” is required to work under Koch network academic, Dr. Russell Sobel in order to satisfy the Koch foundation's Objectives and Purposes:
One of the Donor Supported Professorship Positions shall be a tenure-track professor in the College of Business and Economics in the Department of Economics. (sometimes referred to as the "College Professorship Position"). This professor will be part of the free markets studies program led by Professor Russell Sobel, holder of the James Clark Coffman Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, or his successor as head of the free-market studies program at the University, and will be responsible for, among other things, teaching the undergraduate and graduate students and conducting independent and collaborative research to achieve the Objectives and Purposes set forth in Section 1(a) (WVU 2009 MOU, Section 2.a)
At the University of Louisville, by the time the Koch foundation's 2015 MOU created Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise, the faculty obligations are no longer found directly in the body of the agreement, but in Attachment A describing the Center's Mission:
The mission of the Center is to engage in research and teaching that explores the role of enterprise and entrepreneurship in advancing human well-being (the "Center's Mission") (UL 2015 MOU, Attachment A).
The Center’s staff and activities are required to “support the Center’s Missions.” While several details are given about the activities of the center and its director, the general responsibilities of the Faculty are described:
The faculty members hired will devote a significant portion of their time and resources to work related to the Center. These activities will focus on fields of interest to the Center. Their annual work plan will be developed by the Center Director and the appropriate department chair. The teaching activities will be coordinated with the appropriate department chair to fit with the College teaching schedule. The workload expectations would normally consist of teaching, research, conducting seminars, leading reading groups, public lectures, and other outreach activities. . . The Center faculty will develop and teach courses related to the Center's Mission. These courses could be at the graduate or undergraduate level. (UL 2015 MOU, Attachment A)
At the University of Kentucky, much like the University of Louisville, the 2015 MOU lays out obligations for faculty hired at the Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise in Attachment A:
The individuals holding the faculty positions will be selected by the University and will engage in research, teaching, and community outreach. The faculty's work will make additional courses and educational opportunities available for undergraduates, provide advising for graduate students, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration at the University, and provide important information to the general public. This work will include devoting a significant amount of time and resources to work related to the Institute. (UK 2015 MOU, Attachment A)
Work "related to the Institute" would be bound by its Mission, "to discover and understand aspects of free enterprise that promote the well being of society (UK 2015 MOU, Attachment A)
At Ball State University, the 2016 agreement which created the Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise lays out the faculty obligations in Attachment A, as part of a description of the Institute's Objectives and Mission. The Mission is:
to become a national model for values- and ethics-based entrepreneurship, developing research and talent to help solve contemporary problems and promote understanding of the characteristics and virtues of free enterprise in helping people improve their lives (the "Institute's Mission") (BSU Agreement, Attachment A)
While several details are given about the activities of the center and its director, the general responsibilities of the Faculty are described:
The individuals holding the New Tenure-Track Entrepreneurship Professorship and the Tenure-Track Entrepreneurship Professorship will teach general education and honors undergraduates, engage in research, and help ground studies of entrepreneurship in sound economics. These individuals will also devote a significant amount of their time and resources to work. related to the Institute . . .
The individuals holding the Tenure-Track Economics Professorships will teach general education and honors undergraduates, engage in research, and help ground studies of entrepreneurship in sound economics. These individuals will also devote a significant amount of their time and resources to work related to the Institute. . .
Research The Institute Director will engage scholars in high-quality research that addresses questions germane to the mission of the Institute and will help ensure that research results are communicated both inside and outside academia. The Institute and University will become known as producers of research that advances both academic and public understanding of how human well being may be advanced in Indiana and beyond. (BSU Grant Agreement, Attachment A)