At its monthly meeting, the Faculty Senate convened Wednesday, March 15th to discuss the course of action regarding the Eudaimonia Institute (EI). EI is a new initiative on campus founded by Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics James Otteson, which, according to its website, “is [meant] to explore the elements of and institutions that support eudaimonia, or genuine human flourishing.” Members of the University Faculty Senate voted 17-9 in favor of a resolution to strip the Institute’s funding from the Koch Foundation.
According to a report obtained at the meeting, “In September, 2016, the University announced that the Charles Koch Foundation committed $3.69 million to support the newly created Eudaimonia Institute over the next five years.” Furthermore the report states that, “Questions were raised by a group of concerned faculty, prompting the Provost to host a forum October 4, 2016. This was followed by a Faculty Petition, signed by 189 University faculty, calling for Faculty Senate to create an Ad Hoc committee to review the formation of the Eudaimonia Institute, and its funding, governance, and mission.”
At the Faculty Senate meeting, an Ad Hoc committee made of Jay Ford (Committee Chair), Doug Beets, Simone Caron, Claudia Kairoff, and Kathy Smith, submitted and presented the report, officially called “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Senate of Wake Forest University on the Eudaimonia Institute,” on their findings on the Eudaimonia Institute, specifically focusing on the source of funding: the Koch Foundation. In a report and presentation full of speculation and conspiracies, Ford questioned the Koch Foundation’s commitment to higher education, specifically in institute’s such as the Eudaimonia Institute.
Mr. Ford, a registered Democrat, along with the rest of his committee, seemed very concern about the fact that the Koch Foundation supports free markets and generally libertarian principles. But concern for a Sharia law-supporting speaker was nonexistent.
In the report, Ford “paraphrased” language from Koch Foundation to fit the left-leaning committee narrative that the Koch Foundation is trying to “convert” students into a certain conservative and libertarian ideology. Much of the information in the report seems to twist the mission of the Koch Foundation, which on its website lists the mission as, “Supporting the study of free societies and the ideas, institutions, and values that maximize well-being,” into being a threat to students and faculty as a means to, “co-opt higher education for ideological, political, and financial ends.” Yet, this happens on a daily basis in the classrooms in favor of the liberal opinion, with members of the committee and Faculty Senate being some of the most out-spoken indoctrinators. Indeed, these faculty members seem to be completely unaware of their bias, as shown when an English professor was “insulted” by the idea that they indoctrinate students.
Senators called into question the fact that the committee was not granted permission by the university to view the institute’s institutional agreement. In what Ford called, ” a gratifying experience with disappointing results,” liberal faculty members crafted a conspiracy theory based solely on speculation. Using statements that have no factual evidence, the Faculty Senate Committee formed an argument based on how the Koch Foundation allocated their funding to other universities. These universities include top universities such as Brown University, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, George Washington University, Northwestern University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While a majority of the senator’s agreed with the motion brought about, some were vehemently concerned with the possibility of limiting the freedom of ideas. Business School faculty member Page West called into question many of the arguments that the report makes as well as the sources the report uses. While presenting his opinion, the more “tolerant” members of the Faculty Senate would roll their eyes and even try to argue with Dr. West while he was speaking, again trying to silence a dissenting opinion. West called into question the statements made by the report citing respected economists and faculty around the country. In the report it also cites SoundCloud clips from an initiative called “UnKoch My Campus,” started Florida State University by a Ph.D. student. While the sources produced in the report progressed the Committee’s argument, many appear to be biased and of questionable origin.
In the report, the committee fails to acknowledge the other institutes on campus and where their funding comes from. Some senators called into question the university’s ability to accept funds from groups that hope to advance progressive ideology. Yet when it comes to the Eudaimonia Institute, they question where the money from the Koch Foundation comes from. According to United States tax law, non-profit organizations under section 501(c)(3), such as Wake Forest University, are not required to disclose individual funding sources, only the dollar amount. This calls into question the funding that is being pumped into the university as well as organizations such as the Anna Julia Cooper Center and the Pro Humanitate Institute which promote far-left social justice and intersectionality ideologies.
The Review has reached out to the Pro Humanitate Institute about direct and indirect funding for their institute as well as the Anna Julia Cooper Center and is awaiting a response.
While the Senate meeting covered the Ad Hoc committee report and approved the recommendation made by the report to prohibit the university from accepting money from the Koch Foundation, the group did not, however, vote on some of the other motions on the agenda. These motions included creating a committee of faculty members that oversee and control everything that is being produced and taught in the institute. Not only does the proposed motion allow the faculty committee to control what is being taught in the committee, but it also prohibits the faculty members who work for the institute from speaking, lecturing, and publishing without prior approval from the committee.
The Faculty Senate has taken a step that has further progressed the liberal agenda of the University. They have drawn upon tinfoil hat like conspiracies and statements without facts and sources to back them up. The group of faculty members that are ideologically liberal brought forth a motion that tries to further progress their ideological agenda, and eliminates any possibility that their ideology could be questioned.