The Student Government Association is using the $3.25 million grant from John “Papa John” Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation as a model for three future grants the association is considering. The three bills are a review of the Koch/Schnatter grant, the stance of Ball State students against influences on their freedom of academia and a grant review process for the university. Charles Koch Foundation // Photo Courtesy
Koch grant brings questions at other universities
A Kentucky university is split after the Charles Koch Foundation and John Schnatter donated $10 million to fund a center for the study of free enterprise.
Faculty members at the University of Kentucky are hesitant to accept the terms of the center because of a stipulation in the contract that allows Koch and Schnatter to revoke the grant at 30 days notice.
This stipulation is also present in Ball State's contract for the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise.
The contract allows Koch and Schnatter to take back their gift, solely based on if they approve an annual written report the university must submit and if they are happy with the support the university is giving the center.
Some faculty at the University of Kentucky say this potentially sacrifices academic freedom, and could leave the university on the hook for the center, according to Inside Higher Education. They're questioning if a gift that can be taken back at any moment is actually a gift.
But Joan Todd, university spokesperson for Ball State, said it would be "unusual" for any donor to decide to not continue funding, especially on a project they supported. Todd maintained that the university has had entrepreneurial programs for decades, and the funding from Koch and Schnatter just helps accelerate plans that were already in place.
Todd said the institute has been operating since it was announced in March, because it's a continuation of something that was already underway. The university is still searching for faculty positions for the institute, and no one has been hired yet.
When Koch and Schnatter originally donated the $3.25 million to Ball State in March, some students protested against it and showed up to Board of Trustees meetings to voice their opinions. A group of students created an UnKoch My Campus branch, to "fight against outside influences they believe could corrupt academic integrity at Ball State."