Remove Influence of the Koch Network from the University of Arizona!
University of Arizona's "Freedom Center" is an ideological operation that is instrumental in the Koch brothers' effort to co-opt our universities. In September, we filed a public records request to gather more information about Koch's relationship with UA. The university still has not provided documents responsive to our request. Sign our petition urging University President Robert Robbins to release the documents we requested five months ago!
President Robbins, we urge you to release:
1. Any and all gift agreements, grant agreements, and/or memoranda of understanding related to any and all donations made to the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom since its founding;
2. Any and all affiliation agreements that exist between the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and/or the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science and the University of Arizona, the University of Arizona Foundation, and the Arizona State legislature;
3. Any and all supporting documentation related to the approval process for the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom;
4. Any and all supporting documentation related to the approval process for the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science;
5. Any and all supporting documentation related to the governance of the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science, including details on the hiring process for their staff and affiliated faculty;
6. Any and all documentation from courses and seminars taught by faculty and staff affiliated with the Freedom Center, including the summer teacher-training course for the high school course Phil. 101, “Ethics, Economy & Entrepreneurship,” from the founding of the Freedom Center to the present.
As a public university, the terms and conditions related to these donations, and the activities of the programs they support, should be public information. The university community and all Arizona taxpayers have a right to ensure our flagship public university is not being manipulated to fulfill the political objectives of the Koch network.
The Charles Koch Foundation contributed $1.8 million to found the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom (Freedom Center) at the University of Arizona (UA). Additional millions have been contributed by other members of the Koch donor network, such as the Templeton Foundation.
The "Freedom Center" is an ideological operation that is instrumental in the Koch brothers' effort to co-opt our universities to help the billionaire class achieve control of our country, as documented in Dark Money by Jane Mayer and Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean.
To support the political intent of the Freedom Center, the Koch-influenced Arizona State Legislature dedicated $6.3 million dollars of Arizona state funds to the Freedom Center in 2016 and 2017, while severely cutting state funding for other university programs.
Last year, a new “Department of Political Economy and Moral Science” was established at the University of Arizona to house the Freedom Center (Click here for more information on the new department). Having departmental status will allow the Freedom Center to offer undergraduate programs and graduate degrees. It will also help place the Freedom Center’s high school education course in more schools, including in foreign countries. (Click here for more information on the high school course).
Despite the high level of taxpayer funding the Freedom Center has received, it displays a troubling resistance to transparency and disclosure. Kochs Off Campus!, a grassroots coalition of concerned Tucson residents, UA faculty, and students, filed a public document request in September 2017 seeking records detailing the donors, gift agreements, and educational activities related to the Freedom Center. The University has never provided the requested documents.
Arizona Public Records Law requires that “the documents be promptly furnished.” Arizona law does not specify a deadline; however, for comparison, the statutory response time limit for requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act is 20 working days (one month). Five months is more than long enough for the University to comply with the law!
Please sign our petition to help us pressure University President Robert Robbins to release the documents we requested in September!