Protect Xavier’s Reputation and Mission

Protect Xavier’s Reputation and Mission

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Concerned Xavier University Alumni started this petition to Father Michael J. Graham, S.J.

As Xavier University alumni, we honor and respect Xavier’s mission and ideals established over 188 years. We have been shaped as professionals and citizens because Xavier set out to educate us “intellectually, morally, and spiritually… [i]n an inclusive environment of free and open inquiry.” Funding from the Charles Koch Foundation is antithetical to Xavier’s mission and ideals. We ask that Xavier uphold its own values and vision by immediately returning funds to the Charles Koch Foundation and implementing a new policy that provides transparency and protection for academic freedom when major gifts are negotiated. The undersigned alumni will not donate to the school while Xavier accepts and uses money from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The Charles Koch Foundation and its affiliates have worked tirelessly to undermine the scientific consensus regarding climate change and the urgency to act, promoted a biased academic agenda that aligns with their corporate interests, and undermined the role of government in society and ultimately the foundations of democracy. The work of the Koch brothers dismantles scientific efforts to combat the climate crisis and harms society’s most vulnerable people.

By contrast, Xavier asks students to “cultivate lives of reflection, compassion and informed action” and commit to the “common good” in a “complex and interdependent world.” The Ignatian tradition from which these values are drawn invites us to embody “sensitivity to issues of social and environmental justice.” Accepting money from the Charles Koch Foundation betrays the very ideals Xavier purports to uphold. We will not allow the Charles Koch Foundation to launder its deservedly poor reputation through association with Xavier University.

Further, we question the Smith Scholars program’s stated goals and legitimacy. It appears to be a duplicative program in a time of apparent financial constraints where the university could have expanded existing honors programs or better accommodated business students, rather than create another program in need of additional funds. Our concerns about the nature and motivation to accept Koch Foundation funding are only heightened by the observation that the program it created is from a center not housed in any academic department and the program has not achieved approval for a full major. Such a lackluster program further confirms that money, not mission, exclusively animated Xavier’s decision to accept this gift. We will not allow the Charles Koch Foundation to exert undue influence over Xavier’s stated values of integrity, academic freedom, and shared governance.

The undersigned alumni will not financially support Xavier University for the duration of its acceptance of any funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and its affiliates. We also ask that Xavier take this opportunity to enact a value-based donor acceptance and transparency policy. As a sign of support and appreciation for the University’s mission, if Xavier returns the Koch grant and enacts a donor transparency and equality provision, we pledge to make an additional donation beyond any funds we would have contributed otherwise. We firmly believe that in signing this pledge we are living out the very values we learned at Xavier.

 

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