The Campaign to Stop Fresh College Thinking
The Koch Foundation gives money to encourage debate on campus. Activists want to silence that debate.
by John Hardin
May 26, 2015
College should be a place where students encounter a diversity of ideas—just ask many of the more than 1.8 million students who are graduating this year. That diversity often relies on charitable foundations, which support countless educational programs across the country. For example, the Charles Koch Foundation, where I work, has responded to hundreds of grant requests from colleges and universities. These requests have led us to support educational initiatives in economics, philosophy, entrepreneurship, criminal justice and other disciplines at more than 250 institutions of higher learning.
Yet student access to a broad range of ideas is under assault. Across the country, political groups from outside the academy are organizing campus crusades to silence those with whom they disagree.
Look at what’s taking place at Mississippi State University. The school will soon launch its new Institute for Market Studies, which was made possible in part by a $365,000 grant from our foundation. Yet before the first book could even be opened, the political action committee American Bridge filed an open records request seeking emails between professors and between the school’s faculty and our foundation. This overtly political fishing expedition is designed to intimidate the faculty at MSU, discouraging them from participating in the new institute.
Strongarm tactics such as these have no place on a college campus, but the MSU incident is not unique.
[See the full article at the Wall Street Journal online.]
Mr. Hardin is the director of university relations at the Charles Koch Foundation.