Thursday, November 19, 2015

What Western Carolina University Will Do For Money

WCU in Cullowhee is moving toward an agreement to indoctrinate teenagers and post-teens in the predatory capitalism of fossil fuel dinosaurs -- namely, Koch Bros. industries. Western Carolina University administrators are angling for a grant to establish a Koch-funded "Center for Study of Free Enterprise" on the Cullowhee campus (thanks to NC Policy Watch for the heads-up):
Under a proposal currently under consideration by WCU administrators, the Charles Koch Foundation would give $2 million to the university .... The faculty member driving the process appears to be Economics Department Professor Edward Lopez, who also boasts the title of “BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism.” Lopez, who gave the “Friedman Legacy Lecture” this summer at the John Locke Foundation, is a graduate of the Kochs’ largest university grantee, George Mason University, and an energetic proponent of “free market” economic theories.
There's an interesting history behind that imposing title, "BB&T Distinguished Professor."

Edward Lopez
The trail goes back to 2008, when BB&T honcho John Allison was pushing Ayn Rand's "objectivist" worship of capitalism on any North Carolina college that would take his money. (He had tried to set up a study center at Appalachian State University, but ASU faculty members objected to "objectivism" and the requirement that freshmen would be forced to read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, among other types of indoctrination.) Allison turned his charm on WCU and got further.

Allison's BB&T Foundation inked a deal in 2008 with WCU's College of Business to set up the endowed chair that Professor Edward Lopez now occupies. The signed agreement stipulated that "the Professor shall work closely with the Ayn Rand Institute and have a reasonable understanding and positive attitude toward Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism."

"Positive attitude"? That's not exactly scholarship, and it's not a disinterested search for knowledge. That's indoctrination. The WCU agreement also mandated the required reading of Atlas Shrugged, but that was later dropped when WCU faculty began finding out about this deal with the devil.

Now it appears that the Ayn Rand Professor Edward Lopez is making his own deal with other devils, the Koch Bros., for $2 million in cash -- "what many rightfully view as blood money from a corporate behemoth that is gleefully plundering and endangering the planet and buying lackey politicians and mouthpieces at a prodigious rate."

The WCU Faculty Senate is fighting this, but with the current funding cuts enacted by The Honorables in Raleigh, WCU administrators are going to be glitter-eyed at the temptation to make that deal with the devil.


Anonymous said...

IS Atlas Shrugged truly indoctrination for anyone not stupid? It's a horribly written book - the characters act as if in a soap opera - the protagonist works in an industry that was overshadowed by planes, trucks and automobiles right around the time the book was released.

Rand is the product of the Soviet Union. It is astonishing that her version of utopia has been adopted by the far right wing. I think students SHOULD read the book. I have a feeling most would not be able to finish it. And I have a feeling that many at Appalachian State would be appalled by the selfishness celebrated in this book. Appalachian is a VERY Christian school - service to the community seems to be a strong impulse in many of the students I encounter.

Anonymous said...

the reason the industry is so dated is because she lifted the whole idea from a 1922 novel called "The Driver," by Garet Garret. Galt and all..

Anonymous said...

Why are liberals so afraid of students being exposed to other viewpoints?

Anonymous said...

It is not about whether the agenda is left or right, it is about the fundamental principle that universities are suppose to pursue knowledge, not the political agenda of the highest bidder. If ANY funds have strings attached that dictate or restrict the academics, it should be rejected. The Koch money ALWAYS has strings attached. Do your homework and learn about how they work. They are a plague on higher education. BB&T as well. Reject the money, and any money (from the left or right) that confuses the pursuit of knowledge with the pursuit of ideology.

Nobody is afraid of ideas. But everyone should be afraid that the curriculum can be bought on our campuses and that money can steer what is being taught to our kids. And yes, such a thing is especially troubling when the organization, such as Koch, activity works to make people more ignorant with misinformation campaigns to push their ideological agenda. W

CU doesn't have a good rep now, this will only make it worse.

Anonymous said...

It's extremely disingenuous to imply that the money will indoctrinate students. Has anyone ever heard of a conservative or libertarian sociology department? What about political science or any other "studies" department, e.g. Women's Studies?

This is not to say that the subjects studied in these departments are not worthy of study but to say that only the "right" (broadly defined) has a monopoly on political tunnel vision is deliberately obtuse.

Take a survey of the WCU sociology department and let us know how many conservatives or libertarians are there. The math department can tell you about a set of measure zero.

run75441 said...

"Anonymous said...

It's extremely disingenuous to imply that the money will indoctrinate students."

Who is being disingenuous? The grant has strings tied to it similar to Marshall:

"Marshall $1 million to establish the BB&T Center for the Advancement of blah blah blah. The grant specifies that a certain specific book must be required reading for all students: "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand."

This is freshman high school reading and hilarious. In the end the old girl (Ms. O'Conner) became one of the "parasites and moochers" she railed against and took Social Security and Medicare.

The consideration here is not that WCU hire a freshwater economist and a saltwater economist, it is a particular type of economist the same as the head of the economics department sponsored by BB&T bank. The rest of your comment after the first sentence is a non sequitur to the comment by the other Anonymous.

Do you teach or are you a shill for Koch or BB&T?