The New York Times reports that a contribution of $30 million to rename the law school at Virginia’s public George Mason University for Antonin Scalia has prompted an overdue backlash to the amount of ideology already infused in that campus by past contributions from the Koch family and like-minded conservatives.
Some say the school has become an ideological outpost; some say the contributions don’t influence instruction.
But the debate has raised questions about how, as the university’s growth has outpaced the state of Virginia’s support for it, conservative donors have become increasingly important.
“Public universities are just desperate for money. And if it’s not coming from the state, it has to come from some place,” said David A. Kravitz, a professor of management who sits on the faculty senate. “What’s left is people like the Koch brothers and others, and quite often they provide money that goes toward things that support their interests.”
Imagine. Billionaires giving huge sums to a public university with strings attached — strings including establishment of academic departments that reliably produce “scholarship” supportive of the philanthropists’ point of view or do research that aids their core businesses.
That could never happen in Arkansas, could it?