Sunday, November 08, 2015

University protests — Not everyone wants to "bend over" for the Koch brothers

Last week we had a protest against Charles Koch who met with the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce to promote his newest book, Good Profit. The protesters numbered only 11. They were a dedicated group of political activists here in town, while much of the town treated Charles as royalty.
Opponents of the Kochs are having better luck protesting the brothers so called "financial gifts" to Universities. These gifts and grants end up allowing the Kochs to censor political activities they don't believe in. Students also don't want so much corporate influence on their campuses.

We must support and champion students everywhere who want to curb the influence of the Koch brothers as they try to buy up democracy and lock out those they disagree with. And let's not "bend over" for the Kochs.
-SJ Otto

According to Inside Higher Ed:

'UnKoch My Campus'

Student groups around the country, led by Florida State University students, protest corporate money and influence in academics, with a focus on the Koch brothers.
November 4, 2014


Students on nearly 30 campuses around the country called for a separation of college and corporation in protests Monday. Although the events highlighted financial influence from the Koch brothers, organizers said the campaign is a response to a broader trend of corporate influence.
The idea was spearheaded by students at Florida State University, where past criticisms over the university’s relationship with the Charles Koch Foundation are now intertwined with criticism of choice of a politician without an academic background for university president. 
Outside of Florida, students at colleges from Michigan to Virginia also took steps Monday against their respective colleges' relationship with the Koch brothers.
Libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch have been funneling millions of dollars to universities for several years, generally paying for the hiring of new faculty members and supporting economic centers that focus on capitalism and free enterprise. Critics say that some of the arrangement go beyond philanthropy to influencing curricular or hiring choices in inappropriate ways that colleges should reject.
Groups affiliated with the Koch brothers foundations have repeatedly denied that financial support of colleges infringes on academic freedom and did so when asked for a comment on Monday's campaign. 
“Academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas are cornerstones of our philanthropy," said John Hardin, a program officer with the Charles Koch Foundation, in an email. "When we support a school’s initiative, it is to expand opportunity and increase the diversity of ideas available on campus.”
A recently launched “UnKoch My Campus” campaign helped advertise for Monday's events, which aimed to raise awareness on campuses that receive money tied to the Koch brothers and to unite already-existing protests on individual campuses.
Florida State's history with the Kochs
Florida State’s saga with Koch brothers started in 2011, when the details of a 2008 grant agreement between the university and the foundation were made public.
Critics of the agreement said it gave the Koch brothers too much influence in hiring in the economics department. The university revised the agreement in 2013, though that did little to assuage concerns.

For the rest click here.

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