Koch Foundation gift sparks heated Faculty Assembly meeting.

By SUSAN JONES, University Tiimes, Dec. 5, 2019.

“The questions and concerns surrounding a $4.2 million gift from the Koch Foundation to start a new center at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs haven’t gone away since the University officially approved the funding in October.

On Dec. 4, Provost Ann Cudd, along with three other top Pitt administrators, gave a presentation to and took questions from Faculty Assembly about the vetting process for external funding, and at times the discussion got a bit heated. While their presentations were general, the questions from the crowded meeting were clearly aimed at the Koch Foundation gift to create the new Center for Governance and Markets, led by Jennifer Murtazashvili, an associate professor in GSPIA.”

Full Article Here

By KEVIN KEARNS,  University Times, December 18, 2019.
“According to the University Times, Kris Davitt, senior vice chancellor for Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement, suggested near the end of the Dec. 4 meeting of the Faculty Assembly that there may be a need to update the University’s policy on gift acceptance. (“Koch Foundation gift sparks heated Faculty Assembly meeting,” Dec. 5, 2019). Other institutions are embarking on similar reviews, according to a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Universities Are Facing Criticism for Taking Dirty Money. Do Their Donor Policies Protect Them?” by Francie Diep, Oct. 30, 2019).Having closely observed the process leading up to the creation of Graduate School of Public and International Affairs’ new Center for Governance and Markets, I would be fully supportive of a transparent and rigorous review of the University’s gift policy. If a review process is launched, I propose that it should address four important questions:”

  • Question #1: Is a center fundamentally different from a research project or a research agenda?
  • Question #2: Should the size of the center, relative to its host unit, be considered?
  • Question # 3: Who evaluates mission accomplishment and with what metrics?
  • Question #4: Who should represent the University in negotiations and ultimate commitment of resources?

A University of Pittsburgh student group UnKoch Pittsburgh is opposing the new center.
photo credit, UnKochPittsburgh.