Western Carolina just can't say no to the Koch Brothers

The Beatles were wrong, money can buy you love:

Western Carolina University’s chancellor has endorsed a proposal for a new center funded, in part, with money from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The new Center for the Study of Free Enterprise would be funded with $2 million from the Charles Koch Foundation. The total budget would be $3.4 million. The proposal for the center came from Edward Lopez, Western Carolina’s BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism.

Republican cuts to higher education spending *and* their recent closure of several perceived left-wing centers is making even more sense now, isn't it? It's part of a well-choreographed dance to indoctrinate the tens of thousands of UNC System graduates every year into voters more amenable (susceptible) to Free Market talking points. Stalin would be impressed. As far as that "Professor of Capitalism," that is another very similar story of corporate influence over higher education:

Recent donations from the charitable arm of BB&T (editor's note: This was 2008), one of the nation’s largest banks, have raised the issue of external influence anew, sparking concerns about academic integrity and the role of the faculty in decisions about accepting gifts that come with curricular or other strings attached. At the center of the concerns about these donations is the requirement that objectivist Ayn Rand’s novels be taught in special courses extolling capitalism and self-interest.

Determining the exact stipulations involved in agreements between donors and university foundations is difficult, because the agreements are not considered public documents and are typically kept private. Larger gift amounts range from several hundred thousand dollars to a million dollars or more, doled out over five to ten years, and often contain a provision for matching funds.

Stipulations range from the seemingly benign—funding for faculty and student research and support for a speaker series on capitalism, leadership retreats, and the establishment of Ayn Rand reading rooms—to the sharply contentious. At Western Carolina University, for example—as at UNC–Charlotte—in addition to the creation of new courses involving required reading of Rand, the original 2008 agreement included a condition that faculty members who teach the new course on capitalism “shall work closely with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) and have a reasonable understanding and positive attitude towards Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.” In this and other agreements, the BB&T Foundation’s close ties to the Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Irvine, California, are evident. The institute’s stated mission is to work “to introduce young people to Ayn Rand’s novels, to support scholarship and research based on her ideas, and to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights, and laissez-faire capitalism to the widest possible audience.”

And yes, the Ayn Rand Institute is funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers, via their intentionally confusing network of conservative foundations. And the word you're looking for is "Insidious," in case you feel like picking up the phone and gnawing on someone's ear.

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