Tomorrow night, the UNLV College of Liberal Arts presents the University Forum Lecture: "
Are All Rights Human Rights? Personhood from Hobbes to the Court Case, Citizens United",
presented by Susan Meld Shell, professor of political science from Boston College.
Sounds interesting, right? Look a little closer. There, on the very bottom of the announcement. Yes, that's where you'll see that this lecture is funded by a grant from the Koch Foundation
. Now why would the Koch brothers be financing an educational lecture on human rights and the Citizens United court case?
A little research into the speaker made me wonder the intent of this lecture. In a January 2011 article
, Dr. Shell wrote that same-sex marriage should be approached with caution. She is the author of Kant and the Limits of Autonomy
which is promoted as "an extended meditation on the foundation and limits of modern liberalism
." In fact, she's written five times
on Kantian philosophy. She also co-edited "America At Risk: Threats to Liberal Self-Government
A quick check into Koch's Foundation donations made the picture look a bit clearer. Last year, the Koch Foundation’s donation of $1.5 million to Florida State University’s economics department bought them the right to screen and sign off on any new hires for a new program promoting “economy and free enterprise.”
Last October, they pledged $1 million in matching funds
to create a Center for Public Policy Studies at UNR. Koch virtually owns much of George Mason University through grans and direct control over think tanks within the school. Koch controls
the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, an institute that set much
of the Bush administration’s environmental deregulation policy. Koch has ties
to West Virginia University, Brown University, Troy University, Utah State University and others.
Since 2006, the Koch Foundation has spent more than $50 million on ultra-conservative issues, projects and candidates in Washington.
The Koch brothers appear intent on infiltrating our educational systems, attacking the very core of academic integrity. So why would UNLV chose to accept grant money from a foundation that clearly has a political agenda? It's a question UNLV should answer.
Ask them yourself: Chris Hudgins, Ph.D.
Dean, UNLV College of Liberal Arts
Phone: (702) 895-3401John Tuman, Ph.D.
Chair, UNLV Political Science Department
Phone: (702) 895-5258