Koch Foundation makes grant agreement with Chapman public

Click to view Chapman’s full agreement with the foundation.

The Charles Koch Foundation published its grant agreement with Chapman University on its website Sept. 4. Up until now, the agreement was not publicly available.

The release comes about two and a half weeks after seven Chapman professors requested an impartial, faculty senate-generated report on the foundation’s donation to the university. One of the goals of requesting the report was to obtain a copy of the agreement.

“We should not be afraid of finding out the facts,” Tom Zoellner, one of the professors spearheading the effort to request the report, told The Panther Aug. 26.

The Panther viewed the agreement in May with Chapman’s then-faculty senate president, David Pincus, and published an exclusive article on its contents, but was prohibited from taking photos or directly quoting the document. In July, the Charles Koch Foundation pledged to make all future multiyear grant agreements available online, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A $5 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation in December 2016 has been a source of controversy at Chapman where, combined with $10 million from two anonymous donors, it’s helped fund between eight and 10 professorships at Chapman, President Daniele Struppa told The Panther in April. Some existing professors have raised questions about the transparency and integrity of the donation process.

Other Koch donation recipients, like George Mason University, Florida State University and Wake Forest University, have generated reports similar to the one that Chapman faculty requested.

Paul Gulino, Chapman’s faculty senate president, said that if a faculty senator is interested in creating a committee to generate the report, he or she can propose the idea to the senate’s executive board, which will discuss the proposal and decide whether to move forward. The board’s first meeting is Sept. 7.

“It’s very likely that we’ll be discussing it (in faculty senate) whether a senator brings it up or not,” Gulino told The Panther Aug. 26. “Seven respected faculty members have expressed a concern, and when people do that, that’s what faculty governance is for.

The foundation also published a post on its website Sept. 4 about the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, which was partially funded by the $5 million donation. The institute aims to combine the studies of humanities and economics.

In the post, titled “If You Build It, They Will Come,” Bart Wilson, the institute’s director, called the demand for the program’s expansion “incredible.”