Concern Over Influence of Grantor on Hiring of University Faculty

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There are questions regarding the right of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, which awarded a $1.5 million for Florida State University (FSU), in the hiring of professors. The grant, meant for FSU’s economics department, was awarded with the condition that an advisory committee appointed by businessman Charles G. Koch has a say in the screening and hiring of faculty for the university’s new economics program on free enterprise and the political economy.

Although the dean of the university’s College of Social Science, where the economics department is under, does not see anything wrong with this arrangement, he also realized that faculty in other universities will not see it as consistent with their idea of academic freedom. Traditionally, donors to educational institutions have little, if any, input regarding the hiring of people to lead a program they have funded. Most universities throughout the country have policies that limit the influence of donors over the use of their donations.

In addition to the mixed views regarding the effect of the deal on academic freedom, FSU’s status as a publicly funded university is also considered by many as private business’ interference with government institutions.

The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation is just one of many nonprofits financed by Koch and his brother that are meant to establish political and academic-oriented think tanks that focuse on the relationship of business and the government. Koch Industries, owned by the two brothers, is one of the largest private corporations in the country.



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