Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Koch brothers helped create a “culture of fear” at Wichita State University

By SJ Otto
Just a few weeks ago The Wichita Eagle ran an article on the Charles Koch Foundation giving money to Wichita State University (WSU) have also talked about creating the Study of Free Enterprise at the Barton School of Business. It seems the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, both like to promote their philosophy on the importance of free-wheeling "free enterprise" and that freedom loving "free market place."
For those not familiar with the Koch brothers and their philosophy it amounts to massive tax breaks for the business classes, (similar to what Gov. Sam Brownback has inflicted on us here in Kansas) lack of any regulations of any kind and complete freedom over the workers of our country. That freedom entails no-unions, no safety regulations, no benefits to workers and really low wages. Workers are to be beaten down into submission. One thing is for sure, you will never become a $billionaire or a $millionaire working for Koch Industries.
The Koch brothers want to use the WSU facilities to promote those ideas.
According to The Wichita Eagle:

"Koch has funded similar institutes at Oklahoma State University, the University of Kentucky and, most recently, at WSU president John Bardo’s former institution, Western Carolina University in North Carolina.
“This opportunity is transformative for the Barton School,” WSU provost Tony Vizzini wrote in an e-mail in July. “By us being stewards for the (Charles Koch Foundation) we assist them in their mission. They, in return, transform us allowing us to advance in our mission.”

But the question here is "can they really promote their own mission, in the best interest of the students, while supporting the Koch's philosophy of self-serving government for the business community?" The answer to that is "probably not!" This week the WSU Sunflower, the official newspaper of that school, put out an article called: "Student leaders plead for help from regents president," by Chance Swaim.
In the article some students talked of a “culture of fear” at WSU, one perpetuated by administrators who are “puppets to private business.”
In addition to that, the article said several students sent in complaints and among them:

" —Students, faculty and staff “afraid to speak up” out of fear of retaliation by President Bardo.....
—Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs Anthony Vizzini notified SGA he would appoint a new faculty advisor, which student leaders say violates the WSU’s Student Bill of Rights. Vizzini said he didn’t know about the existence of the Student Bill of Rights, and then appointed a new advisor, Lyston Skerritt, anyway....
—Concerns about outside influence on university decisions...."

That is right. The students complained about "outside influences on University Decisions." What does that mean? I talked to a Sunflower staff member who told me that the Koch brothers were a part of that concern.
The idea that a free market of business and a free market of ideas just naturally go hand in hand does not pan out at WSU. People who work there are in fear of loosing their jobs according to the Sunflower article. The Koch brothers give as much as $11.25 million to the university at a time. But they expect something back. They don't want to be criticized by people who work for the university nor do they really want any criticism by the students. They want their philosophy to go unquestioned. They expect those who do raise questions to be punished. According to the Sunflower article, (probably the Koch's) and other donors mean business.

For more on this "Culture of fear" I recommend reading the entire Sunflower article.






 Pix from We Party Patriots and Pinterest.

1 comment:

Connor Gibson said...

Have you seen the work of various campuses that have affiliated through the UnKoch My Campus campaign?

I work with those students as part of my job at Greenpeace. Koch-backed professors have sometimes lobbied against clean energy and other issues where Koch has skin in the game, and professors by Koch have even mis-taught the basic facts of climate science. Hence my interest.

Thanks for writing, sorry for the circumstances.
Connor Gibson