Koch Foundation Chairs

5/11/2011: The ivory tower has never been exactly snowy white, but here is an example of a particularly egregious case, the Koch gifts to fund chairs in Free Market Economics at Florida State. Fascinating gift letter/contract here, news story from Kris Hundley of the St. Petersburg Times (that’s Florida, not Russia), here:

Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet “objectives” set by Koch during annual evaluations.

I really love this quote though, which gets to the nut of the issue:

Said Washburn, author of University Inc., a book on industry’s ties to academia: “This is an egregious example of a public university being willing to sell itself for next to nothing.”

Ceding a less egregious amount of control, or getting a better price, that’s a different matter. Let’s talk turkey.

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