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Saturday, 10 May 2014 14:19

Action! Gov. Scott: VETO Koch-funded universities bill

Written by  Gladys Nobriga and Team SCPA

Florida State University Students request urgent action:

ACTION:

TELL GOV. RICK SCOTT TO VETO KOCH-FUNDED UNIVERSITIES BILL!

Veto HB 115, and keep public records in the sunshine!

Call Gov. Scott: (850) 717-9337

An appeal for action by FSU student Gladys Nobriga

Dear World,

The billionaire Koch brothers and their allies have been purchasing influence at hundreds of universities to promote their bottom line at the expense of academic integrity. The recently disclosed agreements between FSU and the Koch brothers has led to a passing bill that would make it harder to keep donors accountable. It would restrict public access to meetings between university foundations and potential private donors. HB 115, a bill that would allow secret donor deals to be made, is waiting to be signed by Governor Rick Scott and we are asking for a veto.

Whether the issue is sufficient funding or finding a means to funding for a university, academic freedom should never be sacrificed. The power and control that comes with accepting grants from people like the Koch brothers has allowed them to choose what is being taught, how to teach it and who is teaching it. This could mean teaching climate science denial to students at the university. As we have seen with countless natural disasters, stories of oil spills and contaminated drinking water among so many other horrible environmental injustices, we hold the power to demand a future void of corruption.

I am urging my fellow students from all over Florida, faculty and concerned Florida citizens to call and demand a veto on this bill. As a recent graduate from Florida State, I believe that these affiliations will hurt not only the university’s standing but will hurt the students’ who have worked hard to get a higher education. I would not be surprised if our efforts to reach the Top 25 are hindered due to these unethical deals and it could mean even worse for a preeminent university. These deals should be transparent with donors held accountable. Please share our call to action and help protect the right to know for students and faculty.

In Solidarity,
Gladys Nobriga
 
This is an urgent message from FSU students to all concerned Floridians:

URGENT UPDATE: Following news of recently disclosed agreements between FSU and the Koch brothers, the Florida House and Senate have passed a bill (HB 115) which would restrict public access to meetings between university foundations and potential private donors. This is an attack on freedom of information and academic integrity that needs to be stopped.

Call Governor Rick Scott today, tell him to veto HB 115, and stop secret donor agreements that threaten the academic integrity of Florida’s public universities: (850) 717-9337

This bill was sponsored in the senate by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), the state chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and in the House by Rep. Cary Pigman, a champion of Americans for Prosperity Florida. Both organizations are shadowy corporate front group funded by the Koch brothers. In light of the growing network of Koch brothers’ influence on more than 200 universities around the country, and the national reach of ALEC legislation, the passage of this bill could create an alarming precedent.

Call Governor Rick Scott today and tell him to veto HB 115, Demand that he protect academic integrity in Florida: (850) 717-9337

The billionaire Koch brothers and their allies have been purchasing influence at hundreds of universities to promote their bottom line. As if it were not challenging enough to discover these agreements, HB 115 would create a new public records exemption for meetings between university Foundations and donor organizations as long as they are discussing research. We only have until Friday, May 9th to urge that Governor Scott veto the bill.

Call Governor Rick Scott today and tell him to veto HB 115, and to keep public records in the sunshine: (850) 717-9337

This is our last chance to call on Governor Scott to transparency in our universities. Here's a script you can use when you call:
 
Hello, my name is _______. I live in _______, Florida.
(are you a student, a professor? mention that!)
 
I am calling to demand that the governor veto HB 115, because
-Private Donor agreements are already threatening academic integrity in Florida.
-This kind of secrecy endangers the spirit of free and open inquiry
-Our universities should not be compromised in order to protect private interests.
 
Please veto this bill and protect Florida’s universities.  

http://www.wearepowershift.org/blogs/urgent-tell-gov-scott-veto-koch-funded-universities-bill

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BACKGROUND

Fine Print, Restrictive Grants, and Freedom
The limits to 'free' in free-market foundation donations at Florida State University
By Kent S. Miller and Ray Bellamy

When the representatives of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation came to Tallahassee in 2007 with checkbook in hand, they had every reason to expect a warm reception from Florida State University. Florida, along with much of the nation, was busy transferring money from higher education to prisons, and FSU was hurting.

T. K. Wetherell, FSU’s president at the time, had this to say about the Koch Foundation’s generous proposed donation to the economics department: “In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that public universities find ways to partner with the private sector to develop the sorts of programs that our society will need in coming decades.” ...

http://www.aaup.org/article/fine-print-restrictive-grants-and-academic-freedom#.U2qY_F4vpG

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Some fear Charles Koch's influence damages FSU's integrity
by John Romano, Tampa Bay Times Columnist
April 19, 2014

It's not quite a fair fight. Or even a practical fight.

In this corner, you have businessman Charles Koch. He's the one with billions of dollars in the vault and presidential hopefuls on the line. He essentially wants to buy influence at Florida State University by offering the school sizable chunks of grant money.

In the other corner, you have grad student Ralph Wilson. He's the one with less than $30 in his checking account, and a wheezing '91 Toyota Corolla. He, and a few others, are hoping to shame FSU into better monitoring Koch's influence. ...

... One big issue: that Koch still has indirect veto power on some faculty hiring. ... [Editor's emphasis.]

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/college/some-fear-charles-kochs-influence-damages-fsus-integrity/2175919

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Gladys Nobriga is a student at Florida State University.
Additional input by Team SCPA.

 

Last modified on Saturday, 10 May 2014 14:58
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