Open Letter to President Hatch and Provost Kersh on the Koch Foundation

Open Letter to President Hatch and Provost Kersh on the Koch Foundation

Dear President Hatch and Provost Kersh,

We are writing because we are deeply concerned about Wake Forest’s decision to accept $3.69 million from the Koch Foundation towards funding the Eudaimonia Institute, overseen by executive director Professor James Otteson. In recent years, the mainstream press—including Time Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker—has well documented how the Koch Foundation has sought to influence higher education to suit their political purposes of advancing “free enterprise” and denying “climate change,” of hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty who share their political ideology, and of shaping teaching and the curriculum within universities.

As you know, an Ad Hoc Committee within the Faculty Senate has conducted an independent investigation into the Koch Foundation in general and its very real and likely potential to harm academic freedom, faculty governance, and the university’s integrity at Wake Forest, in particular. On March 15th, the Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly against accepting funding from the Koch Foundation. The report concludes: “Given recent revelations about the Koch Foundation’s strategy and aims in higher education, it is our view that the University administration and Board of Trustees have the opportunity to reject this funding and thereby make a bold statement in defending the integrity and academic reputation of Wake Forest University.”

Whatever autonomy the Eudaimonia Institute may claim to have in pursuing academic inquiry and promoting the free exchange of ideas, two facts remain. First, the Koch Foundation has a particular political ideology it seeks to uphold by shaping institutions of higher learning. Second, the University’s decision to accept this money was made without the consultation and participation of the faculty.

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We, the undersigned, oppose the University administration’s decision to accept monies from the Koch Foundation. We believe this decision erodes our trust in the administration’s protection of the liberal arts and the humanities as the foundation of the University and its mission. And we remain committed to the notion that faculty should have full participation in the creation and approval of University institutes, particularly when institutes are funded by external sources.

We urge you to reject funding from the Koch Foundation.

Omaar Hena, Associate Professor of English, Class of 1999 (English)

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    tdaly29Jul 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Now Koch is after yet another university. Iowa State University.

    “I am reasonably confident that ISU won’t enter into an agreement
    that gives CKF too much leverage or influence on the scholarship,”
    Joshua Rosenbloom, chairman of the ISU Economics Department, wrote in a
    Dec. 2, 2016, email to economics professor Joydeep Bhattacharya.
    Bhattacharya had expressed anxiety in a Dec. 1 email to Rosenbloom about
    “getting on board a slippery slope with such an overtly political

    The Gazette obtained through an open records request
    nearly 200 pages of emails between ISU and the Koch Foundation about
    sponsorship of an academic program of study in economics. The records,
    for which ISU charged The Gazette $300, were heavily redacted, with some
    emails completely blacked out except for the greeting.

    What exactly does “gives CKF too much leverage or influence on the scholarship” mean? How much is permissible? Makes you wonder why emails between ISU and the Koch Foundation about sponsorship
    of an academic program of study in economics were heavily redacted,
    with some emails completely blacked out except for the greeting.

    Dr Otteson should provide the faculty the emails and other documents generated in the negotiations for the WFU / Koch agreement.

  • O

    Omaar HenaApr 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Signatures to Date:
    Danny Timpona
    Carleigh Morgan
    Fahad Rahmat
    Joshua Courtney
    Lillis Hendrickson
    Valeria Villa
    Linea Johnson
    Lauren Baylor
    Candide Jones
    Jourdan M. Bickham
    Bennett Brownlow
    Erica Duff
    Charles Gibson III (BA ’09)
    Annie Karabell
    Kristopher Nordstrom
    Elaina Taze Smith
    Claire Alexander
    Rachel Stewart
    Charlie Sngel
    Caroline Sprinkle
    Sarah Nelson
    Yasmin Bendaas
    Abby Bauman
    Bruce and Deborah Nelson
    Paul Fyfe
    Meredith Brown
    Andrés González
    Nina Foster
    Leah Schenkel
    Katie Porter ’12
    Ana Leon-Tavora
    Elaine Dunavant
    Sean Maness
    Anna Kathryn Butler
    Jennifer Hutcherson
    Gabrielle Smith
    Aubrey Sitler
    Ava Petrash
    Sophia Goren
    Addy Rothman
    Eliza Wilcox
    Emma Skeels
    Joseph Drewry Thies
    Bradley Gray
    Ali Butler Willifoes
    Rebekah Broh-Kahn
    Katerina Allen
    Virginia Browne
    Sarah Millsaps
    Jessica Adams
    Frannie Speer
    Tonis Montes
    Dana Gross
    Hadley Rolf
    Karly Ball
    Nicholas DeMayo
    Molly Dunn
    Mo Earley
    Emily Jo Williams
    Hannah Dobie
    Caroline Perkins
    Char Van Schenck
    Rachel Mount
    Caroline Murray
    Gina Davidson
    Alondra Morales
    CV Vitolo
    Troi Hicks
    Audrey Sullivan
    Katherine Super
    Shannon Magee
    Sara Gonzalez
    Aubrey Peterson
    Jordan Campbell
    Margaux Forcione
    Maddie Langr
    Lucia Terpak
    Brad Goldsmith
    Thomas Edward Zook
    Nolan Dahm
    Adam Tomasi
    Rafaella Vaca-Tricerri
    Seth Simmons
    Varun Reddy
    Rakin Nasar
    Lee Larson
    Lucy Shen
    Matt Schlosser
    Christopher Evershed
    Tone Deinema
    Alec Jessar
    Andrew Lopez
    Catherine Seifert
    Eli Groves
    Nathan Allen
    Allie Pacini
    Bailey Pittenger
    Nia Evans
    Laura Garland
    Brennan Radulski
    Haleigh Monyek
    Ian Kirchner
    Leila Spira
    Theresa Patten
    Raissa Minani
    Diana Halloran
    Lee Begelman
    Ashley Mellon
    Khaki Wade
    Pam Clough
    Julia Stevens
    Thomas Daly
    Margaret Langford
    Suzanne Mullins
    Juilee Shivalkar
    Michaela Cragg
    Thomas Poston
    Kara A. Peruccio
    Alice Romanov
    Rachel Poad
    Anonymous: Oppose the decision to accept monies from the Koch Foundation
    Kandace Hoppin

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    Omaar HenaApr 25, 2017 at 5:41 pm