Letters to the Editor

Our Reader: Syracuse University should release terms of contract for Koch Foundation-funded Whitman institute

In a time of corporate influence and dark money, make sure you check what you know about who is funding your campus.

Last semester, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management announced plans to create a Koch Foundation funded Institute for Entrepreneurial Society with a $1.75 million price tag. Additionally, two months ago, The Daily Orange released an article regarding concerns to academic freedom that came with this grant. Now, we as a student organization, Democracy Matters, want to assure there is transparency in this deal. To this deal, we request that the terms of the contract of be released to the public.

Charles and David Koch have gone around funding similar programs throughout the nation to advance their political agenda. With a combined $100 billion net worth, the brothers spent $400 million in the 2012 election and close to $900 million in 2016. However, only a fraction of their contributions went toward the candidates themselves. The rest went to either Astroturf campaigns — campaigns made to look like grassroots activism — or to develop institutions at college campuses. Their motive is to instill their own curriculum and influence the students in the program. In turn, these students graduate and promote free-market, anti-environment, business deregulation agendas, which benefit Koch Industries.

In the past, these contracts have come with strings attached. Both students and faculty have recently raised concerns about the violations of academic freedom that come with the money. It is crucial now more than ever that we as one university see the terms of the contract before the administration approves this institution from going forward. Democracy Matters invites anyone and everyone interested in finding out about the Koch brothers’ presence on our campus to come to our event, Uncover Koch, on Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Sincerely,

John Jankovic, Syracuse University

Political Science, Class of 2020

Social media coordinator, Democracy Matters

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