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"Some days this feels so absurd,'' said FSU student, Ralf Wilson, who is studying mathematics. "Our world is so distant from this giant, powerful empire that is Koch Industries. It's surreal to think we may have any kind of influence in this situation.''
This is what so many of us fear - the buying and selling of our public schools and their educators for personal gain and political agendas. If you have the money, find get to the students while they're young, and brainwash them. That way you can teach them how to live and do what's Right.

The original FSU protest against Koch's influence over professors in the economics department began in 2011. Raw Story and Rachel Maddow reported:

A foundation funded by Koch gave $1.5 million to the school’s economics department in 2008, in exchange for Koch having the power to select members of an “advisory committee” that screens prospective new hires. A year later, Koch reportedly rejected 60 percent of job candidates suggested by FSU faculty
According to Tampa Bay NewsTampa Bay News
FSU officials initially denied he (Koch) had that type of power (hire/fire professors) on campus, but a Faculty Senate review determined the agreement with Koch had several troublesome features. The school vowed to fix the agreement and the story soon disappeared from the headlines.

Except Wilson and other students kept bugging the school about the revised agreement. When they finally saw it, they discovered Koch's influence was not entirely neutered, and they wrote an op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat voicing their concerns.

The problem is, there is less and less funding for schools, so they feel the need to accept financial help from other sources - but at what cost?
"As state funding levels go down, we become more and more dependent on funding from outside sources that might come with some strings attached,'' Tyson said. "As long as those strings do not affect the university's core mission, we don't have a problem.''
Tampa Bay News also reports:
The economics department will continue to follow the university's normal hiring procedures and will be free to hire anyone it sees fit. Once the offer has been made, however, Koch will be allowed to pull the funding if he is not happy with FSU's choice. If that happens, the school will then be on the hook for that professor's salary.
While it is not a direct veto, it does give FSU a strong incentive to recruit professors who agree with Koch's free market ideas.
Many of us have been aware of this type of corruption most of our adult lives. What's new is the blatant attempts, and actual buying/selling of our government, our media, our healthcare, our environment, and now our public education system. It's so easy. It's so… legal. Plus, how many other public colleges, high schools and elementary schools are, or will be, bought/influenced by dark money? One can only hope more Americans will rise up via the ilk of Occupy, Anonymous and WolfPAC. Something's got to give or something's going to snap. The Koch brothers are obviously not the only wealthy entity driven by money, greed and power. We are bound to see more and more of the corrupt 1% rear their ugly heads.

It's so good to see students speaking out. I hope to see us 'diary' the hell out of these issues and get them out to the public, not only by having them published on this site, but by posting them ourselves, to social media networks ourselves. The people can turn this around - Only the people can stop this. But first we must become aware.

Special thanks: Rafael Rivero

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 03:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by North & Central Florida Kossacks, DKos Florida, Teachers Lounge, and Hellraisers Journal.

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