Elsewhere online
November 05, 2014

Protesters at Dozens of Colleges Question Koch Donations

Demonstrating under the slogan "UnKoch My Campus," students at nearly 30 colleges across the country held protests Monday calling on their institutions to reveal more about what Charles and David Koch have donated and whether the billionaire industrialists wield academic influence, Forbes writes. The brothers have given nearly $50-million to 254 universities nationwide since 2005, according to a database compiled by Greenpeace.

Their gifts generally earmark funds to hire professors or build research centers aimed at studying capitalism and libertarian ideas. Students at George Mason University in Northern Virginia—by far the largest academic recipient of Koch funds, with some $24-million in grants—demanded to know which departments and programs have benefited from the brothers' contributions. George Mason's president has denied that donors sway academic decisions.

There was also a protest at Florida State University, where a 2008 gift by Charles Koch's foundation prompted allegations that the donor had been given undue influence over teaching hires. A faculty review rejected the claim but found that the university's agreement with the Koch group opened the door to such influence.