The Panther to view Koch Foundation agreements with Chapman

Koch Foundation

Chapman received a $5 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation to help establish the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy. Panther Archives

One editor at The Panther will have the opportunity to view Chapman’s contract with the Charles Koch Foundation, after newly public documents that revealed details of donor agreements between the foundation and George Mason University caused its president to call for an inquiry into undue donor influence last week.

The Panther’s 2018-19 editor-in-chief Rebeccah Glaser will meet with President Daniele Struppa and David Pincus, faculty senate president, and review the documents this week. Under guidelines set by the Charles Koch Foundation, she cannot take pictures, write notes or directly quote the donor agreement, but she can ask questions to learn about the nature of the contract.

In Chapman’s agreement with the Charles Koch Foundation, it’s stated that the university needs written approval to publicly release the contract, which the foundation did not agree to in this case, Struppa said. However, representatives from the organization will allow one student to analyze the document, under these limitations.

[Related: Editorial | Where there’s Koch, there’s fire]

This comes after George Mason President Angel Cabrera wrote in an April 27 school-wide email – which UnKoch My Campus provided to The Panther – that some donor agreements “fall short of standards of academic independence.”

The Charles Koch Foundation has donated millions of dollars to colleges across the nation to create a “talent pipeline” of libertarian-minded students. Charles Koch and his brother, David Koch, are Kansas-based billionaires known to support conservative efforts and groups that, among other things, deny climate change.

The organization’s $5 million donation to Chapman in December 2016 helped establish the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, which aims to combine the studies of humanities and economics, joining similar institutes at many other schools, like Florida State University and George Mason University, where the donations have raised controversy.

[Related: President Struppa disagrees that George Mason contract with Koch Foundation violates academic freedom]

The release of the documents at George Mason comes after a Freedom of Information Act request from Sam Parsons, a co-founder at UnKoch My Campus. At Chapman, administrators have not released the agreement, besides showing excerpts when presenting to faculty.

A date has not yet been set for when The Panther, Struppa and Pincus will review the documents together.