Regarding the article “Meet the Professor: Charles Koch Wants to Rewrite Your Syllabi” in the Dec. 9 issue.
First off, let us keep in mind that the Koch brothers are not interested in simply “funding” education for philanthropic purposes, but are in fact attempting to dismantle public education on a grand scale nationally. As chief financiers of the dubious “ALEC,” an organization which designs model legislation, they’ve not only worked to cut public funding, but also editorialized science in favor of a fundamental Christian ideology, i.e. Texas, i.e. intelligent design, i.e. Google it. So suddenly they’re interested in putting their own personal money into schools? It seems hardly debatable that this proposition represents the next series of strategic movements in exerting corporate control over public universities and thus a major source of critical discourse regarding economic policies, ethical principles, law etc. The fact that a public university would so discreetly get into bed with such suspect characters speaks more to the sensitivities (or lack thereof) and quite possibly the motives of James Ramsey’s stewardship, than if they had opened up about the proceedings at hand without all the reservation, especially in a time of notorious “dark money” and the political baggage that come with the Koch name.
However, I’m cynical, especially considering the fact that the myth of the so-called “free market” is somehow still lingering in ostensibly “academic” circles. This, unfortunately, reifies my suspicions that the business school is little more than an indoctrination machine, replete with its own Texas Roadhouse (downstairs). Perhaps we shouldn’t judge too hastily though, perhaps the irony of a free-market preaching legislation mill with serious conflicts of interest is lost on Ramsey and the business school faculty, perhaps they’re simply uninformed and blinded by privilege, or maybe I’m just naive to think that a university could be a place for unbiased exploration. I just hope that if the deals go through, that the inevitable marks don’t blemish the reputation of U of L enough to devalue my own degree.
-J.R. McCleney, Alumnus, B.S. Sociology