Petition Against Koch Funding at Boston College
We, the Boston College community, call upon the Political Science Department to reject the proposed grant in conjunction with the Charles Koch Foundation. The Koch Foundation has a long and controversial history of donating to climate deniers and attempting to influence the institutions it funds. As a Jesuit institution, we have a moral duty to put the common good above all else, and we believe that the acceptance of this grant would legitimize the past, self-interested actions of the Koch Foundation. Given that the proposed grant has a five-year reapplication cycle, we are concerned that this disincentivizes scholarship running counter to the agenda of the Charles Koch Foundation, and so puts our academic freedom at risk.
By signing this petition you are stating your support for the attached statement (
) and the following ideas:
1. The mission of the Koch Foundation is to push their agenda. Donors to Boston College contribute to the University in affirmation and agreement with our values, which support the common good. The Koch Foundation prioritizes its own self-interested mission, which we believe to be incompatible with Boston College’s Jesuit values.
(a) The Koch family has convictions of white collar crime, and this grant seems to be a self-interested way of white-washing their image.
(b) If the Political Science Department were to accept the donation, it would demonstrate an approval of the Foundation’s agenda and the means by which the money was obtained.
2. Accepting this gift could put faculty members at risk of self-censorship in the interest of maintaining the funding throughout the five-year reapplication cycle.
(a) This influence in the Political Science Department could trigger a ripple-effect to other departments, sending the message that Boston College’s academic and social mission can be bought.
3. The Koch Foundation supports climate disruption, to the extent that it is profitable for the Foundation.
(a) The Foundation omitted the subject of climate change in the grant application. This may mean that the donation cannot be used to research this issue, even though it is a central concern to Political Science.
In light of these concerns, we call upon Boston College to decline the Koch Foundation’s offer. Further, we suggest that Boston College develop, publish, and enforce a grant acceptance policy administered by provost advisory committee that includes student input and aligns with the University’s Jesuit, Catholic identity and its academic and social mission. If this is not feasible, we would call upon the various academic departments of Boston College to adopt departmental gift acceptance policies in line with Jesuit and Catholic values of justice through education and service.
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