Dr. Crow’s quote is accurate, but the story in which it was included was decidedly incomplete.
The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL) does not receive money from either David or Charles Koch. As you know, a center focusing on political thought and leadership, in ASU’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, was partially funded by the Charles Koch Foundation before SCETL was established. That center will be moved under SCETL this summer.
SCETL was funded by a special appropriation from the Arizona legislature.
However, the school underwent rigorous faculty review and emerged from the typical academic discussions and debate over philosophy, pedagogy and, quite frankly, whether a new school in this area would pull students away from other established schools and departments at ASU. It didn’t just appear at the wave of a Republican magic wand; it went through the normal processes for starting new academic endeavors and is better for having had that opportunity.
And no one who contributes money to ASU receives a say in what is taught or studied at the university. If that had been requested, let alone required, the money would have been refused.
While SCETL’s courses do mostly address Western ideas, there is also study of other views, including through a comparative political philosophy course on Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism. The School organized a service-learning experience in India this year which emphasized for ASU students that the world’s largest liberal democracy arose from a blending of Hindu, Muslim, and Western civilizations in south Asia.
SCETL was created and is led by academics, not partisans. Its curriculum [scetl.asu.edu]
and programming [scetl.asu.edu]
include an emphasis on the intellectual foundations of liberal democracy and America’s political and economic order, fused with a character-centric approach to leadership and public service. A lot of its work focuses on reinvigorating civil discourse.
If you had more time to report this story, you might enjoy speaking with the SCETL students who are leaders in the College Democrats, or getting to attend one of the Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity forums. Previous participants have included intellectual conservatives such as Robert George, Heather MacDonald, Harvey Mansfield, Steve Hayward, and Clint Bolick, and just as many intellectual liberals, including Robert Post, Jeremy Waldron, Ulrich Baer, Cornel West, Jonathan Haidt, and Senator Tom Daschle.
The goal of SCETL and its public programs are concerned with improving the quality of talking, thinking and, perhaps most important, listening. SCETL hopes to inspire a generation of leaders who are practiced in the art of thoughtful and respectful debate. Seems useful in these highly partisan times.