by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
Saith the Smoky Mountain Times:
Western Carolina University Chancellor David Belcher had a heart-to-heart with university faculty last week about the controversy over a politically charged financial gift to WCU from the conservative Koch Foundation.
The majority of WCU faculty opposes the $2 million gift that will establish and fund a Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, a socio-political economic theory steeped in Libertarian ideology. Belcher went against faculty in December and approved the gift and the center’s creation.
Belcher was commended for grovelling and apologizing. The staff majority wants a plurality of opinions. That is, the concept of trade is narrow and flawed, but Marxism is universal. Belcher, it seems, was defrauded by freaky billionaires trying to share with budding entrepreneurs their methods of creating general prosperity through economic freedom. This freaky, steepy ideology threatens the power structure, which profits with prestige and tenure when kids to go into big student debt so they can be paupers.
Faculty concerns have centered on whether the free enterprise center would be a veiled advocacy arm for the political ideology of the conservative Koch Foundation. The wealthy Koch brothers fund a vast national network of ideological think tanks and political action groups — a network that has increasingly come to include economic research centers embedded on university campuses.
“To be vulnerable to billionaires to say in your marketplace of ideas I am going to buy 10 shelves full to put my material on, it undermines the fundamental integrity of education,” said Dr. David McCord, chair of the faculty senate.
Faculty also fear the university could be co-opted by outside entities trying to advance their own interests rather than support the university’s mission.