Koch Foundation contribution to FSU
It's beautifully ironic that in a time when some quarters decry college as a pageant of liberal indoctrination, empirical evidence that FSU has pimped out its students for conservative indoctrination has emerged.
What's less amusing is FSU president Eric Barron's continued rationalizations that the school's academic integrity hasn't been compromised.
FSU should at least disclose to students that their professors are bought and paid for by political interests. It's too bad; even though these scholars may indeed be among the best in their fields, the circumstances of their employment at FSU are fundamentally ethically compromised.
FSU needs to give this money back, or accept that its academic reputation has been bought, for cheap. I don't think you need to be an economics professor to recognize that exchange as a kind of prostitution.
Andrew McAlister, Temple Terrace
* * *
Koch Foundation contribution to FSU
Koch money is needed
Nearly every university in the country - particularly public ones - are bastions of liberalism. They force feed liberal doctrine and philosophy into the idealistic minds of the youth. There is little tolerance for any conservative thought.
I wonder how much the press would fall all over themselves if FSU's benefactor were George Soros? He would be acclaimed as a great philanthropist, hailed for his largesse, welcomed with open "brains," invited to sit on boards and make faculty choices. Yet when the money comes from a conservative it is reported as sinister and not fair and too invasive for free thinking. Certainly your reading public deserves more objectivity.
Margy Kincaid, Palm Harbor
* * *
Koch gift isn't free
I commend your reporter and subsequent editorial for taking Florida State University to task for accepting Koch Foundation money with strings attached. In his op-ed response, FSU President Barron maintains that their hiring process is unaffected by the Advisory Committee created by the grant.
In reviewing the agreement, it is clear this committee not only has a say in hiring, it also requires that a special statement be added to each professor's evaluation describing adherence to the philosophical principles set out in the funding agreement. Included is a list of their publications and proposed research. The evaluation is then reviewed by the Advisory Committee.
I grew up in Communist Eastern Europe. These provisions are eerily familiar. They represent an insidious form of propaganda and social control.
Marek Knop, St Pete Beach
* * *
Academic freedom sold
It was with consternation that I read that my university (graduate and faculty member) was selling it's academic freedom for a few bucks. The fundamentals of a university education is freedom of expression divorced from, shall we say, "bribery" by filthy lucre. To paraphrase a biblical concept: "What good does it do a University to gain the world and lose it's academic freedom."
Henry L. King, Clearwater
* * *
Scott asserts "supreme power" over agency rules - May 13
If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely; does "supreme executive power" give us a supremely corrupt governor?
Mortimer Brown, Lutz
* * *
Battle lines remain blurred - May 15
Brown working system
U.S. Rep Corrine Brown is proving that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which was originally designed to protect minority representation, is today a protection racket for incumbents in "minority-majority" districts.
Any move that identifies a block of minority voters and actively seeks to split them up would be declared illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't ruled conclusively whether herding groups into a district for the purpose of electing a candidate of a specific race or ethic group is equally unconstitutional.
Florida needs more competitive districts where candidates must appeal to a broader expanse of ideas and no one political party is guaranteed to win. Brown and her supporters will throw out words like "diversity" and "fairness," but I believe their real agenda is "power."
Joseph H. Brown, Tampa
* * *
Climate change on back burner - May 16
Florida must plan
Once again, our state leaders are demonstrating their proclivity for short-sightedness. The Florida State Department of Environmental Protection's decision not to pursue programs or projects regarding climate change is most onerous.
Planning for climate change requires a "long-term" program. Where will displaced businesses and families go? How will our state's underground water supply be protected? What will become of our state's agricultural economy?
What about tourism? The beaches will, essentially, be moved further inland as the sea rises. Who will sacrifice their property for beachfronts? Where will the state get the funding to replenish some 1,200 miles of beach sands?
When did the DEP give up its responsibility to Florida residents and visitors to plan for environmental changes?DEP should be calling on the experts. Now. Not when it's too late, and the waters have already begun to inundate our coastal towns.
Frank Walters Clark, Pinellas Park
* * *
Bush blazes education trail - May 16
Education as a business
The irony and hypocrisy of the conservatives championing Jeb Bush on his education policies rivals only those who now complain about the national debt after remaining silent during eight years of his brother's policies that left the country broke. Both increased the power of state and national governments over local school boards more than any politicians in history, thus creating a Big Brother philosophy that rivals anything Orwell could have imagined.
Call it "reform" if you agree with the following scenario: Citizens pay private companies tax dollars to test our children. Those test results determine if children are allowed to pass to the next grade and/or graduate, and whether their teachers' will receive raises. However, no one, not the taxpayers, parents, students or teachers, are allowed to look at the tests. Like something out of the former Soviet Union, parents must trust the government-hired private corporations to make no mistakes.
These companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars from taxes, and if they contribute to private schools, they can get huge tax breaks. If they open for-profit schools, they can compete for tax dollars and have the advantage over public schools by not having to spend money on their own tests, simply because they are "privately run," though "publicly funded."
Jeb Bush is not an education reformer. He's a robber baron of the 21st century.
Sarah Robinson, Safety Harbor