Professors and activists laid bare the Koch Brothers’ plot to corrupt Arizona’s universities to advance their anti-worker, anti-consumer and anti-public school agenda. 150 people attended “Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center” at the Tucson UA campus.
The speakers called on University President Robert C. Robbins to put the so-called “Freedom Center” under rigorous scrutiny, and they urged citizens to call and write Koch-funded Gov. Ducey to end the unique $2.5 million budget line-items especially for the Freedom Center.
They are members of Kochs Off Campus! — a nonpartisan group of Tucson residents, UA faculty and students concerned about the undue influence of right-wing money on public education.
Donors to the Freedom Center are a whos-who of right-wing advocates, including the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, Randy and Ken Kendrick, the Thomas W. Smith Foundation and even local car dealer Jim Click, according to Douglas Weiner, Professor of History.
“There has been a lack of transparency in the operation of the Freedom Center,” Weiner said, pointing out secret donor agreements, undisclosed donors and surreptitious planting of Koch textbooks in Tucson high schools.
“One of the biggest issues of the academic neutrality of the Freedom Center is that Director David Schmidtz has a long association with libertarian politics,” Weiner said.
Koch Structure for “Social Change”
The Koch brothers political agenda is to promote private schools, defund public education, eliminate consumer and environmental protections, minimize employee rights, and abolish taxes on their businesses.
Samantha Parsons, Campaign Organizer of UnKoch My Campus, said 419 campuses have taken funding from the Kochs. “It is highly inappropriate for a donor to have this control over a university. They are holding the universities hostage,” she said.