Turns out the infamous Koch Brothers in addition to buying politicians, and bankrolling the Tea Party, is trying to use their cash to control what is taught in our places of higher learning.
According to Dave Levinthal,
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 a single three-year term.
The Charles Koch Foundation expressed a willingness to give Florida State an extra $105,000 to keep Benson—a self-described “libertarian anarchist” who asserts that every government function he’s studied “can be, has been, or is being produced better by the private sector”—in place.
So basically the Koch Brothers attempted to bribe Florida State University into teaching their ideology as fact. Unfortunately, it worked for awhile.
Florida State University “willfully and knowingly violated the integrity of FSU by accepting funding meant only to further Koch’s free-market agenda.”
Further down Levinthal also points out,
At Florida State University, Benson noted in a November 2007 memorandum that the Charles Koch Foundation would not just “give us money to hire anyone we want and fund any graduate student that we choose. There are constraints.”
Benson later added in the memo: “Koch cannot tell a university who to hire, but they are going to try to make sure, through contractual terms and monitoring, that people hired are [to] be consistent with ‘donor Intent.’”
Basically they were determined to make sure that economics class was a propaganda outlet for their absolutist free market worldview, where professors wouldn’t teach anything that contradicted it. Obviously the Koch brothers care more about their political agenda than increasing the quality of education, and they don’t seem to care much for academic freedom.
You can read the full story over at the Daily Beast. I for one, am glad this came to light. Even if the university is no longer accepting the bribe money, the simple fact that they ever did, is extremely shameful. Question is, what can be done to prevent the Koch Brothers, or anyone else from being able to do this with other collages in the future?