Humanists know that US democracy is under attack on many fronts. One of the ways this is happening is that billionaire political donors, like Charles Koch, use donations to educational institutions to place their private agendas over the needs of our communities. Koch himself admits that the university programs and research centers he funds serve an explicit purpose: to mainstream and legitimize the ideas that support the Koch network’s corporate policy agenda—an agenda that seeks to strip away civil rights and further consolidate the power of the wealthy elite at a significant cost to democracy and the climate.
On October 27, 2022, the American Humanist Association (AHA) will join a National Day of Action to build public awareness of the impact of the Koch network within institutions of education and our broader democracy. The Day of Action is organized in partnership with UnKoch My Campus, Liberation in a Generation, Fossil Free Research, and BIG MONEY OUT VA.
“UnKoch My Campus has been sounding the alarm on the undue influence that comes along with fossil fuel donors in higher education,” says AHA’s Director of Communications, Jasmine Banks. “We are pleased to join with these impactful partners and their national platforms to inform about the pernicious influence of fossil fuel influence in higher education.”
The Koch network’s involvement and influence have advanced climate denial via denialist “scientists,” think tanks, and institutes within education institutions, at a time when collective action within the climate movement is needed most. To protect the integrity of higher education and throw a wrench in Koch’s infrastructure of political influence, the Koch network must be stopped from leveraging colleges and universities to lend legitimacy to their private interests.
Every year in October, UnKoch My Campus organizes a National Day of Action to organize against those whose expressed intent is to place private interests over the common good. They work toward building a movement of students, educators, and community activists who refuse to allow corporate and private influence to erode our campuses, democracy, and climate.
Prior to the Day of Action, the AHA and partnering organizations will hold an organizing prep call on Monday, October 24th, 2022. The prep call will feature a panel of the partnering organizations and will help participants learn more about the issues and how they can get involved during the Day of Action.
“The humanist movement has a long history of educating, organizing, and advocating for better. The climate crisis is here and it is the result of corporate actors stalling climate action with disinformation and buying corrupt politicians,” comments AHA Executive Director, Nadya Dutchin. “We are supporting this important awareness-building event because fossil fuel interests have no place in academia.”
Here’s how you can get involved:
- Join the national prep call on Monday, October 24th to learn more about the issue and how you can help. The AHA and other partner organizations will join for a panel discussion.
- Sign the pledge to “UnKoch Everything” and share why you are joining this important fight!
- Look up how much money Koch has given your school or alma mater.
- Review existing campaigns and join one close to you, or sign up to start your own.
- Donate to help continue this work into 2023 and beyond!
Education—from kindergarten all the way through college—should mean open exploration, critical thinking, and learning, and that means getting rid of the dark money that perverts the system. The movement is growing, will you be a part of it?