Today, a handful of college activists are calling on their schools to “UnKoch my campus.” In case you can’t decipher this awkward phrase’s meaning, it refers to the millions of dollars oil industrialists Charles and David Koch donate to university research every year. Far-left activists claim that the Kochs are funding phony studies extolling the virtues of free enterprise and therefore wish to infringe upon the billionaires’ First Amendment rights.
How much do the Kochs give annually to colleges? Al Jazeera America has an answer for the last year of publicly available IRS records:
During 2013, a pair of private charitable foundations Charles Koch leads and personally bankrolls combined to spread more than $19.3 million across 210 college campuses in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internal Revenue Service tax filings.
That’s quite a chunk of change, but the Kochs aren’t the only mega-donors on campus. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, that very same year business magnate and noted liberal funder George Soros spent much more on university research:
Open Society Foundations awarded a total of about $185-million in grants in 2013, including $11.3-million to Bard College to support collaborative liberal-arts programs at four universities: Al-Quds University, in Palestine; American University of Central Asia, in Kyrgyzstan; European Humanities University, in Lithuania; and St. Petersburg State University, in Russia.
You read that right: Soros spent almost $10 for every $1 the Kochs donated in 2013. So I ask the #UnKoch crowd: do you want to #UnSoros your campus, too?
Of course you don’t because today’s protest is nothing more than petty ideological politics. And nor should you. George Soros has just as much of a right as Charles and David Koch to spend his money as he damn well pleases. Especially now, when many colleges are struggling for funds to cover basic instructional needs, mega-donors should be applauded for their generosity, not condemned as comic book villains.
I thought college students were smarter than this.