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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, May 3, 2018

NY Times: Revelations Over Koch Gifts Prompt Inquiry At George Mason

George Mason LogoNew York Times, Revelations Over Koch Gifts Prompt Inquiry at George Mason University:

The president of George Mason University has ordered an inquiry into whether big-money donors are being given undue influence over academic matters, after documents were released showing that the Charles Koch Foundation had been given a voice in hiring and firing professors.

The university president, Angel Cabrera, wrote in an email to faculty Monday night that he was ordering the investigation after learning of documents revealing “problematic gift agreements.”

Mr. Cabrera met Tuesday with the faculty senate to discuss a review of gift acceptance policy, “and there were a lot of interesting proposals from the faculty,” Michael Sandler, a university spokesman, said. Mr. Sandler said the review would cover every gift agreement, no matter how small, that supported faculty.

In response, the Koch foundation released a statement saying that the hiring agreements in question had expired and were no longer used, and that in any case, they had allowed the foundation only to recommend candidates for positions, not to make final appointments. ...

While the agreements did not give donors full control over academic decisions, Mr. Cabrera said, they “fall short of the standards of academic independence I expect any gift to meet.” ...

According to an analysis of tax records by The Associated Press, the Koch Foundation gave $48 million to George Mason from 2011 to 2014.

In 2016, the Koch Foundation gave $10 million to rename George Mason’s law school in memory of Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative member of the United States Supreme Court, who died that year.

(Hat Tip: Ted Seto.)

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/05/ny-times-revelations-over-koch-gifts-prompt-inquiry-at-george-mason.html

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Comments

Somewhere William F Buckley is smiling

Posted by: mike livingston | May 3, 2018 4:10:52 AM

On the other hand, if a university president says to the faculty in a department, "You can have extra money if you want to hire underqualified Prof. X, but otherwise you can't fill the slot with your regular funds," nobody blinks an eye.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | May 3, 2018 7:38:47 AM

The coverage in the Chronicle is by far the best.

Posted by: Chronicle | May 6, 2018 7:45:30 AM

"On the other hand, if a university president says to the faculty in a department, "You can have extra money if you want to hire underqualified Prof. X, but otherwise you can't fill the slot with your regular funds," nobody blinks an eye."

Here's a wild and crazy idea. Let's hire faculty based on the merits, and not based on their politics or their sex or ethnicity. And lets make sure donors have zero control over academic appointments.

Affirmative action for minorities--many of whom are conservatives--doesn't justify affirmative action for conservatives.

Posted by: Merit | May 6, 2018 7:47:16 AM