Koch Brothers Give Huge Gifts To Several Public Universities

06/28/2011 07:53 am 07:53:56 | Updated Aug 28, 2011

The [Koch] foundation has made sizable grants to a number of other colleges and universities -- including six-, seven- and eight-figure gifts to such public institutions as Clemson University, George Mason University, Utah State University and the University of West Virginia.

In at least one case besides that of Florida State, Utah State University, the grant agreements give the foundation a role in reviewing candidates for positions. While the role given to Koch is less expansive than the one set out at Florida State, it still goes beyond norms of faculty hiring, which generally avoid any formal role for donors beyond designating an area of study. In other cases, the nature of the gifts has raised questions -- with critics suggesting that the subject matter is so narrowly defined that it effectively embraces a political perspective, not a subject of study.

Many of the donor agreements -- to the extent that the institutions made them available -- included consistent, if not identical, language regarding the goals and objectives of the grant. The money paid for the hiring of new faculty members and the expansion of centers with a mission to study capitalism and free enterprise. The goals and objectives of these grants were to support "research into the causes, measurements, impact and appreciation of economic freedom," with faculty hired with this money expected to advance "the understanding and practice of those free voluntary processes and principles that promote social progress, human well-being, individual freedom, opportunity and prosperity based on the rule of law, constitutional government, private property and the laws, regulations, organizations, institutions and social norms upon which they rely."

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