Charles Koch’s fingerprints are all over the budget crisis in academia and the right-wing capture of the majority of state legislatures in our country. In October, Kochs Off Campus! will host two webinars that describe what’s going on and what we can do about it. Both webinars will be conducted on Zoom and will begin at 6:00 p.m.
I. Are Public Universities Doomed?
On Thursday, October 1, 2020, Benjamin Balthaser from Indiana University – South Bend will describe the desperate, multi-dimensional crisis in academia, how we got here, and ways to move forward.
It’s nigh unto impossible to land a tenured academic position these days. Why? Because, instead, universities hire well-qualified “adjuncts” and pay them so poorly that many have to live in their cars! The pandemic is making things worse: the University of Arizona cut faculty pay 15% this fall.
UA’s budget has been in freefall since the 2008 Great Recession. The Arizona state legislature cut the university’s budget in response to the recession and has never restored it. That fits well with Charles Koch’s plan to starve public universities so that private corporations can take over more and more academic functions.
Meanwhile, student debt now exceeds credit card debt in the U.S.!
This situation is unsustainable. Students, teachers, and public universities cannot endure much more. What can we do to save them?
II. State Capture
On Thursday, October 22, 2020, Alex Hertel-Fernandez from Columbia University, author of State Capture (published by Oxford University Press last year), will tell us how conservative activists, big businesses, and wealthy donors captured our state legislature – and the nation – and how we can reverse it.
Prof. Hertel-Fernandez will lay out how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) coordinates with two other Koch-sponsored entities – the State Policy Network (SPN) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) – to pass legislation that cuts taxes on wealthy individuals and companies; eliminates environmental, health, safety and economic regulations on business; and privatizes state programs and agencies.
Koch Industries sits on the board of ALEC, which helps corporations write legislation and then pushes that legislation with right-wing state legislators. SPN is a network of right-wing think tanks (like the Goldwater Institute). Koch funds and scripts AFP, an astroturf organization that turns out crowds of reactionary demonstrators to pressure legislators or provide them cover.
Prof. Hertel-Fernandez will analyze where efforts to counter this “troika” went wrong, what could be done differently, and how we could learn from the troika’s structure and tactics.
(scroll down when the page opens)
The deadline for registering for each of these webinars is 6:00 p.m. on the day before the webinar. On the day of the webinar, you will receive an email with the link to join it.
Kochs Off Campus! is offering both webinars free of charge, but you can still support our work. Please consider making a donation today!