Faculty at Wake Forest University are voting to defund an academic center on campus after learning that it was partially funded by donations from the Charles Koch foundation.
The Eudaimonia Institute, an interdisciplinary center at Wake Forest University, is being targeted by progressive professors who grew concerned after learning that the Charles Koch foundation has funded a large portion of the center’s initial grant.
Nearly 200 professors have signed a petition demanding that the Faculty Senate review formation of the center, arguing that Koch donation is a violation of academic freedom. The professors also demand control over the institute’s research and public statements.
Wake Forest professor Jenna Robinson argued that the progressive-leaning academic centers on campus, such as The Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, has not been on the receiving end of a faculty backlash despite its explicit partisan political agenda.
Faculty scrutiny is reserved only for donors who do not subscribe to progressive politics. The Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, for example, has an expressly political and commercial policy agenda and has faced no restrictions on its operations. In fact, it does not even disclose the names of its donors.
“Do you honestly believe that the tiny free-market minority of faculty that the Kochs support are on the verge of taking over and subverting higher ed?” George Mason University Professor Phil Magness wrote. “That is not objective and dispassionate analysis – that’s the ravings of a conspiracy theory.”
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org