People are focusing on the strange arrangement between the Koch brothers and Florida State University, which appears to hand academic control to the right wing, Ayn Rand-loving billionaires. But, Joy Reid asks, what about their partner in that and other university takeovers: a bank called BB&T?
Koch and his brother David Koch are among America? wealthiest people and well known for their efforts advocating fewer taxes and less government regulation.
A Southeastern regional bank, BB&T, sometimes partners with Koch in these efforts. They also are identified for working closely with the tea party movement.
And while the Kochs have in the past denied bankrolling the tea party movement, they have in recent months ?particularly in therun-up to the 2010 election ?become moreblatant about their political activities, and have attracted commensurate attention from people opposed to their views. But BB&T, which was touted by FSU in a press release that seemed to bury the Koch lead, has so far attracted little attention, even though they appear to be just as aggressive as the Kochs in buying into university economics departments.
The FSUannoucement of the 2008 deal read in part:
FSU President T.K. Wetherell thanked Sullivan and Hillis for the generosity and foresight shown by BB&T in making the gifts.
?n these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that public universities find new ways to partner with the private sector to develop the sorts of academic programs that our society will need in the coming decades,?he said. ?e are very appreciative of the confidence that BB&T has placed in Florida State University to create programs to emphasize the moral and ethical dimensions of our free enterprise system.?
With one of the BB&T gifts, the Department of Finance in the College of Business and the Department of Economics in the College of Social Sciences will establish a joint BB&T Program of Free Enterprise. Among other things, this $1.5 million gift will allow for the creation of two professorships ?one in each department ?to develop and promote a free-enterprise curriculum; will enable the development of a Web site that focuses on the program? free-enterprise principles and highlights a new Speaker Series with the inclusion of podcasts from previous speeches; and will fund the establishment of a new economics course, ?orals and Ethics in Economic Systems.?
In addition, the finance department will offer a new course, ?ree Enterprise and Ethics.?/strong>Included in that course will be a lecture seriesbased on BB&T? core values(www.bbt.com/about/corporategovernance) titled ?erspectives on Free Enterprise.?Eventually this new course will become part of a new Certificate Program in Free Enterprise and Ethics.
The BB&T Program of Free Enterprise also will support four new doctoral fellowships and the undergraduate organization Students in Free Enterprise.
And that? just one university arrangementBB&T has entered into. In recent years:
- BB&T donated $3M to fund the establishment of BB&T Program of Free Enterprise at theFlorida State University.
- The company donated $2M to fund research onAyn Rand? work, which she calledObjectivism, at theUniversity of Texas.
- The company donated $600,000 toFlorida Gulf Coast University for the growth of programs at the Lutgert College of Business.
- The company donated $350,000 to fund the teaching of ?he Moral Foundations of Capitalism?at theLoyola College in Maryland.
- The company donated $1.5 Million dollars to the University of Georgia to ?xpand teaching and research into the foundations of capitalism and free market economies?
- The company donated $1 Million dollars to theUniversity of Central Florida to create the BB&T Program for Business Ethics and fund the teaching of ?he Moral Foundations of Capitalism?a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BB%26T#cite_note-12″ target=”_blank”>
- The company donated $1.75 million to West Virginia University? College of Business and Economics.The funds will establish a BB&T Chair in Free Market Thought and enhance the school? free market research and teaching programs.
In fact, BB&T? retired CEO (and continuing chairman)John Allison is a hero to the tea party movement and toLibertarians because:
In addition to running one of the nation? largest banks, Allison and BB&T fund programs at more than 40 universities that teach the moral defense of capitalism. ?lthough each of these programs differs in its composition and mission,?says Clemson University? business profile of BB&T? charitable programs, ?ll are united by a commitment to teaching and research on the moral foundations of capitalism.?
Through contributions to organizations like the Ayn Rand Institute and universities across the nation, Allison has begun to build the foundations for a future electorate who not only understands the issues surrounding the defense of capitalism, but also desires to see capitalism protected and advanced.