The AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC) released a statement denouncing the proposed political science program that would be funded by the Koch Foundation on Tuesday. The same day, a petition organized by a separate group of concerned students began circulating.
The grant would be used to develop a new program focusing on realism and national security. However, ALC and other student organizations have cited the Charles Koch Foundation’s long history of funding research denying the effects of climate change, as well as their ties to white-supremacy groups, as reasons why Boston College should not accept the grant.
The ALC statement argued that environmental justice, in combination with BC’s Jesuit values, are the primary reasons BC should reject the grant. The Koch Foundation has denied the effects of climate change as they emit over 200,000 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide each year.
With regards to social justice, ALC highlighted that climate change is an “existential crisis that disproportionately affects communities of color, both in the United States and the Global South.” They also pointed out that the Koch brothers are far from the frontlines of climate change, which usually affects people “living with income inequality and poverty, institutional racism, inequity on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.”
BC’s professed values demand that it work to defend those most vulnerable in society. However, based on the Koch Foundation’s history and agenda on climate change, ALC argued that there is danger in implicitly supporting an organization such as an academic institution. Recently leaked documents from George Mason University show that the Koch Foundation tried to influence the hiring processes of new faculty at the school.
Those in favor of accepting the money have argued that the benefits the money from the program would provide outweigh the costs of dealing with a foundation that holds very different values. However, the ALC statement drew attention to the dangers unchecked climate change presents to the world, including threats to national security. They argue that any program discussing the international challenges of the modern age needs to address climate change.
"AHANA+ Leadership Council believes Boston College should not accept money from donors that possess a deeply regressive political agenda that is antithetical to our university's mission," the statement concluded. "We strongly urge Boston College and the Political Science Department to reconsider this decision in consideration of science, intellectual honesty, and future generations who will inherit the planet."