Koch ally BB&T just bought the academic freedom of my school for $500,000
Obidicut has the general outline of this story, but I just discovered one of the particulars. I am a senior in geology at Guilford College, and I just found that an upper level course I am to take has just been interfered with by allies of the far right Koch Brothers:
Two of the more visible corporations making substantial contributions to universities are the Koch brothers and BB&T. The brothers are owners of the second-largest privately held corporation in the U.S. and are much in the news because of efforts to influence public policy, elections, taxes, environmental issues, unions, regulations, etc. BB&T is a large financial services corporation that frequently teams up with Koch.
Both corporations have worked out agreements with colleges and universities across the country, many of them being controversial. George Mason University received over $23 million from Koch brothers foundations to hire seven libertarian professors, subjecting the college to the charge that the university had been “bought.” Guilford College accepted a 10-year, $500,000 grant from BB&T, along with the following strings: an upper-level interdisciplinary course requiring the assignment of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” in its entirety, and the commitment of the college to annually (until the year 2019) give a copy of the book to every student who majors either in business or economics when that student enters his or her junior year. Meredith College faculty rejected a $420,000 “gift” that the college president had negotiated with a BB&T foundation on the grounds that the college needed to retain control over course curricula. Incidents of this latter kind abound, but fall far behind the number of instances in which the corporations have gotten the traction they wanted with the schools.
Here is a portion of the email I just sent to the faculty…
I regard this as an attack upon the independence and academic freedom of this Institution. Blatant propagandization from any source is unconscionable, but even more so when the propagandists leave their money on the nightstand when they are done with us. Please join me in protesting this grotesque “donation” and the prostitution of our academic freedom.
The Kochs and their friends are not content with just having wealth and power. They want to control our freedoms as well. They will not stop until we force them to stop.