MSU Students United takes step towards MSU transparency
Billionaire Koch brothers systematically invest, influence higher education
East Lansing, MI, November 3, 2014: This morning the organization MSU Students United submitted an official request for information from Michigan State University under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). The request was for any information, including correspondence and contracts, between MSU and the “Charles Koch Foundation (formerly the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation) and the Charles Koch Institute” at any point from 2004 until present. Students United submitted the request upon learning that the Koch brothers have already given $69,730 to MSU over the past seven years (http://polluterwatch.org/charles-koch-university-funding-database). Additionally, there is reason to believe that the Koch brothers’ donations to MSU are part of a larger strategy of donating to colleges and Universities across the country in an attempt to push their far-right-wing political agenda into academic curriculum(http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/covert-operations) (http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/03/27/14497/inside-koch-brothers-campus-crusade).
The potential for the Koch brothers to influence faculty hiring, curriculum, and textbook choice is a clear breach of academic freedom. Additionally, the Koch brothers use their vast wealth to implement “right-to-work” laws that hurt unions, push the narrative of climate-change denial, oppose efforts at raising the minimum wage, and influence the electoral process with millions of dollars in donations. MSU Students United opposes these attacks on unions, low-wage workers, the Earth, and the integrity of our democratic political process. When the Freedom of Information Act request is fulfilled, and if it reveals contracts that give the Koch brothers undeserved input into our University, then additional action might be taken.
The request was submitted in solidarity with the students at George Mason University and Florida State University who are already fighting to get the Koch brothers’ influence off of their campus. More details can be found here: National Day of Action Against the Corporatization of Education