By Esther Fan and Laryssa Horodysky
The goal of our project is to inform the Wellesley College community about the “then and now” of Freedom Project and varying perspectives through the inclusion of article quotations, twitter correspondence as well as interviews. Despite knowing that inevitably every article is biased, we intended to include these different perspectives to provide the reader with a more holistic view of the topic and seek to pose difficult, yet extremely pertinent questions to the greater Wellesley Community. Through this, we aim to foster consideration and spark discussion of the College’s future steps in relation to the controversy surrounding the Project’s speakers, its donors, and its funding process. Our intention is encourage the readers, as well as the Wellesley Community as a whole, to consider all the offered perspectives, and to think critically about each of them how brings value to this greater discussion. We hope that in doing so, we will be able to encourage you, the readers, to join us in envisioning the “What Next” of the project in considering the values of a Solidarity economy and the creation of a Beloved Community.
*Disclaimer: With the time constraint of our Solidarity Economics project, we were only able to interview a very limited pool of individuals for a variety of reasons. For some, it was scheduling conflicts, while others expressed unwillingness to be interview by us, including Thomas Cushman, who after receiving two of our emails, declined to comment on the matter, responding with “I am on leave from Wellesley and unavailable.”*
The Article that Sparked Discussion about the Freedom Project on Wellesley’s campus
On February 2, 2018, Anne Linskey, a Wellesley alumni and national reporter recently hired by the Washington Post to report on the 2020 presidential campaign (Washington Post, 2018), published an article in the Boston Globe titled, With patience, and a lot of money, Kochs sow conservatism on campuses (Linskey, Feb 2018). “Wellesley this week became the poster child for liberal intolerance, held up by the Kochs’ arch-conservative activist network as an example of how America’s higher education system is deeply flawed” (Linskey, Feb 2018), she writes. Linskey’s “exposing” of Koch involvement in the Freedom Project at Wellesley College has since sparked widespread discussion about the controversial nature of the project within Wellesley’s community.
Linskey begins by reporting on the Koch Brothers’ annual winter retreat, called the Kochs’ “Seminar Network” that occurred during in the last week of January 2018. At the retreat, before inviting two Wellesley students, Kaila Webb, co-student director of the Freedom Project, and Margaret Flynn Sapia on stage, John Hardin, the director of university relations at the Charles Koch Foundation proudly characterised The Freedom Project as one of the “programs for students that are modelling how civil discourse can work” (Linskey, 2018). Webb and Saph then took to the stage describing “a lefty campus hostile to the conservative and libertarian ideas that the Kochs and their wealthy allies hold dear”(Linskey, Feb 2018). “It is considered polite not to challenge authority”, Webb voiced, while Saph “added that a ‘hazardous political climate’ prevents students from voicing conservative views” (Linskey, 2018). In an article she wrote in response to Linskey’s report, Sapia denies saying this, stating her belief that the creation of the Freedom Project “identified an impulse to isolate and ostracise viewpoints of all kinds that fall outside of Wellesley’s prevailing ideology” (Sapia, 2018). In her article, Sapia also goes on to voice her support for the Freedom Project’s attempt to “amend the use of social power to silence opposing opinions engaged in appropriate academic discourse” (Sapia, 2018).
Linskey provides her readers with context of how the Freedom Project came to be. In 2012, Thomas Cushman, a tenured sociology professor at Wellesley (currently on leave), established the Freedom Project at Wellesley. He soon “applied to the Kochs for a grant to bring speakers on campus”, starting with $10,000. She claims that in 2017, Wellesley received an astounding “$1 million” from the Charles Koch Foundation, who “liked what they saw Cushman doing at Wellesley” to “supersize the (Freedom) project”(Linskey, 2018). The Kochs also reportedly “helped persuade two other donors tied to the Koch network (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018), George and Nancy Records, “with ties to the college” to give $1 million to the Freedom Project. In a statement emailed to the Globe, George Records, “former chairman of the Midland Group in Oklahoma”, wrote “We increased the amount we were planning to give to meet the program’s needs, and have been happy to learn how much students value it” (Linskey, 2018).
Sofiya Cabalquinto, spokeswoman for Wellesley, “said that the Koch money is overseen by the college”, describing the project as “just one of many ways in which Wellesley students engage in a diversity of political viewpoints and participate in critical thinking and debate”, reiterating that “Wellesley embraces the diversity of viewpoints held by our students, and the College encourages all students to make their voices heard” (Linskey, 2018). Linskey notes that Cabalquinto “didn’t comment directly on how the college atmosphere was described by students.”
“But critics say there’s reason to be suspicious of these initiatives. The Kochs have a history of trying to attach conditions to their donations”, Linskey notes. She first provides the example of Florida State University, where according to the Centre of Public Integrity (Levinthal, 2014), Kochs “tried to control the curriculum and some hiring in the economics department in exchange for giving millions of dollars” (Linskey, 2018). In Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money: The Hidden Gistory of the Billionaries Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, she also elaborates on Koch control on Florida State’s economics curriculum by quoting JerryFunt, an undergraduate at the school, “who claimed that in his introductory economics course, ‘We learned that Keynes was bad, the free-market was better, that sweatshop labour wasn’t so bad, and that the hands-off regulations in China were better than those in the US’” (Mayer, 2016). Linskey also suggests that the Kochs have “used their education dollars to elevate climate-change deniers” (Linskey, 2018), including Wei-Hock Soon (Willie), a “solar researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics who called predictions of catastrophic ocean tides ‘crazy’” (Gillis and Schwartz, 2015; Linskey, 2018). Additionally, in her article, Linskey brings up a recent scandal concerning the heavily Koch-funded Mercatus Centre at George Mason University (Linskey, 2018 and Mayer, 2016). The centre, she reports, was “specifically credited” over the weekend “with doing the academic work to support the $1.5 trillion tax cut passed in December” (Linskey, 2018). Linskey quotes Brian Hooks, co-chairman of the Seminar Network and former Mercatus executive director, who showily addressed donors at the retreat with, “That research turned out to be absolutely essential to cut through the propaganda that was put out by the cronies and the special interests who were opposing reform” (Linskey, 2018). In her novel, Mayer describes how George Mason University, a “little known” branch of the University of Virginia “toiling in the wilderness of obscurity” soon became Charles Koch’s “largest libertarian academic project” (Mayer, 2016). Following the Koch-persuaded arrival of Rich Fink, former vice president of the Koch industries, and his introduction of Austrian economics program (Mayer, 2016) to the university, it began touting itself as “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academics and real-world problems” (Mayer, 2016). Since then, George Mason has been “hailed a libertarian Mecca” (Mayer, 2016).
In addressing how Wellesley has been brought into the equation, Linskey asserts, “As a stand-in for liberal intolerance, it (Wellesley) was meant to galvanize donors to take matters into their own hands, and try to tilt the collegiate discourse toward the right” (Linksey, 2018). She quotes Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, who said, “The Kochs have been an increasingly visible force on college campuses at a time when there is widespread criticism by conservative voices that higher education promotes progressive liberal causes”, adding that the “concern” for many “is whether the Kochs are trying to control curriculum and faculty hiring”. While Linskey alleges, “At Wellesley, the Kochs don’t have influence over picking teaching fellows or speakers”, she is quick to highlight that their “ideological bent” still raises concerns”. (Linskey, 2018). She references Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, who expresses,“Using money as an ideological club is a fact of life, but it’s an unpleasant one. It’s a nasty fact of life that you have to accept is nasty”. Botstein also, however, also believes that “Wellesley can outrun the Kochs”, in iterating that “elite colleges like Wellesley are adept at sidestepping the more extreme inclinations or intentions of donors, and tend to find ways to accept large gifts and spend the money in ways that don’t undermine the institution” (Linskey, 2018).
Linskey’s article, that Wellesley’s attention to the involvement of the Koch Brothers’ involvement in the Freedom Project upset Wellesley faculty, students, and alumni alike. Many sided with Linskey in viewing it as a libertarian leaning imposition of ideology on Wellesley’s campus, expressing their concerns on the implications of the Kochs’ monetary involvement, namely whether there were, or would be “strings attached” to the donations like there were at other colleges. Paula Johnson, current president of Wellesley College, also spoke out in response to the article, sending out an email the day after the article was published titled “Re: This Morning’s Boston Globe”. She states, “I want to take this opportunity to reiterate Wellesley’s unwavering commitment to academic independence…Our donors do not influence the content of our academic programs or our research and do not dictate the speakers who appear on campus. The college retains complete control over how all funds are spent…Academic freedom is a fundamental principle at Wellesley. We have not and will not compromise on this core value that is integral to our mission” (Johnson, 2018).
The Freedom Project: What it “is”
The Freedom Project was founded in 2012 and headed until 2018 by Thomas Cushman, a tenured Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson Professor in Wellesley College’s Sociology Department, whose areas of research include “sociological theory, dissent and freedom of expression, individualism, interdisciplinary approaches to freedom, and the sociology of controversial ideas” (Wellesley Sociology Faculty Website). The project, as outlined on theFreedom Project website, is“dedicated to the exploration of the idea of freedomin all of its manifestations… through discussions, debates, and scholarship”, with the goal to “provide focused attention to the topic of freedom similar to the attention already received at the college by other important elements of society – like the history and practice of democracy, inequality, and social justice”. It is “grounded in the foundational idea of the liberal arts: that vigorous debate, disagreement, and conflict are the source of intellectual growth and development and are to be embraced rather than avoided” (the Freedom Project Website).
In a statement Cushman published on February 28th, 2018, he characterised the project as, “A continuously evolving institution that aims to better serve the students at Wellesley College and promote freedomof expression, pluralism, and tolerance” (Cushman, 2018). While “Freedom”, “is a complex concept that defies precise, categorical definition” (Freedom Project Website), Cushman has centred the project largely around “free speech” (Linskey, 2018). In his words, the program aims to “Find sustainable ways to committing to freedom of speech and the exploration of this subject while resisting censorship and infringements on academic freedom”. Cushman contextualises his idea of “freedomof expression, pluralism, and tolerance” by introducing what he terms “Fundamental freedoms”, which he believes include “the Freedom to invite a well-known scholar”, “the right of the audience to hear them”, “the right of the audience to openly question ad challenge them”, “the right of those who chose not to listen”, and “the right of protestors to peacefully assemble and protest and express their solidarity with one another”(Cushman, 2018). Margaret Flynn Sapia, current senior at Wellesley College, describes the project with similar terms in her article. “The Freedom Project explores political viewpoints from across a broad spectrum, wherein any view with academic legitimacy is worthy of discussion”, she remarks (Sapia, 2018).
Currently, the Freedom Project accepts up to 24 Wellesley student applicants to the program as fellows (Linskey, 2018). Additionally, the project provides funds for postdoctoral fellows to do research and is paired with Scholars at Risk, “an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission it is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom” (the Freedom Project), which provides temporary academic positions “to scholars facing grave threats”, so their “ideas are not lost and they can keep working until conditions improve and they are able to return to their home countries” (the Freedom Project).
A key matter of contention held by some members of the Wellesley community has been related to the program bringing in “controversial speakers”. Cushman has defended the project, claiming that the speakers brought on campus “Produced a diversity of views across the political spectrum” (Cushman, 2018) He also adds, “In no way does an invitation of a scholar by the Freedom Project mean that all those involved with the Freedom Project agree with the views of any invited scholar”(Linskey, 2018). Joshua T McCabe, Associate Director of the Freedom Project during the 2016-17 academic year, echoes Cushman, arguing that the speakers “made provocative arguments that forced students to rethink their perceived notions about the world” (McCabe, 2018).
The names Cushman mentions include: John Stauffer, a professor of English and African American Studies at Harvard, who in his lecture on November 8th, 2017, “Picturing Fredrick Douglass”, discusses how Douglass’ belief that “photography could be a powerful weapon for battling slavery and racism and achieving civil rights…” became “the most photographed American in the nineteenth century” (the Freedom Project); David Blight, a professor of American History at Yale, who gave a lecture on March 15, 2018 titled “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass” (the Freedom Project), and Steven Pinker, “one of the world’s most influential writers on the nature of language and the human mind,”, who on February 18thof,2015, gave a lecture titled, “Three Reasons to Affirm Free Speech”(the Freedom Project).
Linskey, on the other hand, mentions a couple more names of “controversial” speakers: Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University who “is critical of identity politics” (Linskey, 2018); Laura Kipnis, professor in the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University, who, in her lecture “Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus” on March 8thof 2017, “questioned policies barring sexual relationships between students and teachers at colleges and universities” (Linskey, 2018). Kipnis suggests that “feminism is broken if anyone thinks the sexual hysteria overtaking American campuses is a sign of gender progress”, and “without minimizing the campus assault issue”, argues that, “there has to be far more honesty about the complicated sexual realities and ambivalences hidden behind the notion of “rape culture” (the Freedom Project); and Charles Murray, who gave a speech titled, “By The People, Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission” on April 13th, 2016 (the Freedom Project). Linskey notes that the libertarian author “was shouted down during a speech at Middlebury College” (Linskey, 2018). In reaction to the Middlebury speech, Cushman proclaimed, “When I look at Middlebury, I run over to Wellesley and I kiss the ground. Because we’ve had nothing like that happen. Wellesley students, they’ve proven to be very intense, very outspoken, but also extremely civil to our speakers. That’s what a public sphere is supposed to look like.”
The Freedom Project has also featured faculty lectures, including one titled, “Pedagogy of contention how do you talk about controversial issues in the classroom” (Rosenwald interview) as well as speeches including topics such as, “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of the American Debate” —Greg Lukianoff on April 18th, 2013, “Progressive Origins of Modern Libertarianism”—Matt Zwolinski onOct 3rd, 2014, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”—Alex Epstei on September 17th, 2015, “The Fate of Freedom of Expression in Liberal Democracies”—Thomas Cushman, Jacob Mchangama, and others on Oct 1st 2015, and “Conservatives on Campus: Myths and Realities”—‘panelists’ on March 10th, 2016. The full list of Freedom Project speakers can be found here (Freedom Project Website).
The Koch Brothers: Who they “are”
The Koch Brothers, Charles and David Koch, are billionaires and devout Libertarians whose political ideals of capitalism, conservativism, free-markets, and “liberty” are closely held and deeply manifested in their various “projects”. In taking the approach of “invest(ing) in ideology like venture capitalists” (Mayer, p4), they have scattered fruits from their fields of wealth to an array of “needy” organizations and institutions to advance their political agendas. Their “largely covert” and strategic “(tax-deductible) philanthropic spending” became their greatest force magnifier” (Mayer, p146), creating holes in the system through which their Libertarian views, personal interests, and corporate interests began to seep into academic institutions, think tanks, courts, and Congress. Essentially, they were able to prove to the world that money is power.
The four Koch brothers grew up hearing tales not of lands far-far away, but of their Nazi sympathizing, Soviet ally (Mayer, p31) father Fred’s economic and corporate successes—magical all the same. The morals of these stories were that one should “be kind” (only to oneself), that sharing was not (self)caring, that obeying authorities was for fools, that happiness could be bought, and that when it came to money and power, enough was never enough. Unsurprisingly, it would follow that the values and the Koch brothers had practically inherited from their father would shape their understanding of the world and eventually be heavily manifested in their very own regime. With his strong-held belief that success rested upon competition and heartlessness, Fred soon wrote his sons’ childhood into an epic of intensified sibling rivalry. They soon learned that even and especiallywhen it came to family, it was every man for himself. It was not long, before Charles, the alpha of the group, and David, his loyal sidekick, wrote the other two brothers, Bill and Freddie, out of the company’s legacy (Mayer, p50). Charles never settled for less than everything, described by an associate with, “in a fifty-fifty deal, he takes the hyphen” (Mayer, p52).
Their aims are, as David Koch puts, to “Minimize role of government, maximise role of private economy, maximise personal freedoms” (Mayer, p145), they have pooled all their resources into the devout pursuit of their sole goal—to implement their political vision into the array of spheres under their control. The Koch Empire has since become “A Fully Integrated Network”, with its links being the “conservative, corporate elite” (Mayer, p5). Together, they “subsidized networks of seemingly unconnected think tanks and academic programs and spawned advocacy groups to make their arguments in the national political debate” (Mayer, p5).
In her novel Invisible Hands, Kim Phillips-Fein likens the Koch Empire to“some sort of quasi-religious sociopolitical organization… devoted with missionary zeal to the very idea of free enterprise” (Mayer, p231). In their devout pursuit of freedom, the Kochs—God’s of the free empire—turned their water (money) into wine (political power and influence). The key to the success of their “conservative, political evangelism” in bringing about the political and economic changes they desired, was what Charles describes as a “vertically and horizontally integrated” strategic approach (Mayer, p142), which has been strongly and consistently reflected in every aspect of their rule. Rather than focusing on “conquering one sphere at a time”, the Kochs established their socioeconomic and political dominance by targeting a broad range of institutions and organizations. In taking to a default pattern of “lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation”, building “coverup” groups and mobilizing these institutions and organizations they fund to carry out their political agendas, they have spread like their ideals like a plague—an epidemic they termed, “freedom”. “They’ve built a pretty amazing machine”, diZerega notes. (Mayer, p148)
Sharing Fredrich Hayek’s belief that “to conquer politics, one must first conquer the intellectuals” (Mayer, p100), the Kochs began targeting the youth, whom as Charles Koch suggests, are “the only group that is open to a radically different social philosophy” (Mayer, p56). In attempt to further propagate their political agenda, to “alter the direction of America”, the Kochs took to influencing “the areas where policy ideas percolate from: academia and think tanks” (Mayer, p58). Following in the footsteps of their ally, John M. Olin, whose aim was to “reorient the political slant of American higher education to the right” (Mayer, p105), the Kochs continued to, “spread their (political) seeds” by funding different academic fellowships and programs higher level institutions. They did so with a “savior complex”, probably sharing their ally Ken Langone (co-founder of Home Depot)’s belief that “if it wasn’t for us fat cats and the endowments we fund, every university in the country would be fucked” (Mayer, p14).
Charles Koch famously donated $30 million to George Mason University, with most of the funds going to the economics program which had become known as the “Mercatus Center” (Mayer, p149). The Institute for Humane Studies, a heavily-Koch funded institute chaired by none other than Charles Koch himself, shared a building with Mercatus Center. It had was established with the aim of “cultivate(ing) and subsidize(ing) a farm team of the next generation’s libertarian scholars” (Mayer, p150). Charles took to extreme measures in pursuit of this goal, “demanding better metrics with which to monitor students’ political views”, including counting the number of times applicants’ essay mentioned Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman—free-market names, and testing students at the beginning and end of every week for their “ideological improvement” (Mayer, p150). The IHS also housed the Charles G. Koch summer internship program, “a paid fellowship placing students who shared the Koch’s view in like-minded nonprofit groups, where they could join the libertarian network” (Mayer, p150). George Mason’s Economics department soon became “a hotbed of controversial theories that began to transform Americans’ tax bills, serving as an incubator for the supply-side tax cuts in the Reagan administration that hugely advantaged the rich” (Mayer, p150). A star on its faculty, Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan, founder of the “public choice” theory, described his approach as “politics without romance”, reducing “all human behavior to simple self-interest” (Mayer, p150).
Following in suit of the Olins’, who had scattered over $20 million to “incubators of power” like Harvard University, Yale University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, and Georgetown University, as well as spent $68 million in underwriting 83% of the costs for all Law and Economics programs in American law schools from 1985-1989, the Kochs were determined to prove that “Money talks loudly on college campuses” (Mayer, p364). In 2014, pro-corporate programs were funded by various Koch foundations at 283 colleges and universities. By 2015, it was reported that the Charles Koch Foundation was subsidizing, “pro-business, antiregulatory, and antitax programs” in 307 different higher education institutions in the US and planned to expand into 18 more. For example, Brown University, regarded as the most liberal Ivy, received $147,154 in funds from foundation in 2009 for a Political Theory Project—a freshman seminar in free-market classics taught by Professor John Tomasi, a devout libertarian. West Virginia University received $965,000 from the foundation for the creation of Centre for Free Enterprise, under the condition that the foundation would have say over professor selections, to which the money hungry university obliged.
Students and teachers alike watched helplessly their schools became “ideal devices” for “rich conservatives” like the Kochs to “replace the faculty’s views with their own” (Mayer, p356). John David, an economics professor at West Virginia University, expressed his disapproval towards this with, “entire academic areas at universities can be bought just like politicians. The difference is that universities are supposed to permit open dialogue and exchange of ideas and not be places for the indoctrination of innocent students with dictated propaganda prescribed by outside special interests” (Mayer, p156). In defense of the Kochs, John Hardin, director of university relations at Charles Koch Foundation, writes in The Wall Street Journal, “We support professors who add to the variety of ideas available on college campuses” (Mayer, p156). Yet, one could question whether Hardin’s idea of “ideological variety” can be translated to “extreme conservativism”, since the Kochs’ signature diversity and freedom programs in many higher-level institutions today seem to mainly feature conservative, right wing, controversial speakers. As Mayer echoes, “Money is Speech” (Mayer, p226), Vice president of the Koch Foundation Kevin Gentry speaks to the Kochs’ rapid infiltration of the academic world with, “Higher education is not just limited to an impact on higher education… the students are the next generation of the freedom movement”. Seeing education as an “investment” having an ideological “multiplier effect” (Mayer, p365) the Kochs have since made plans to expand into online education and high school education as means of extending their “valuable talent pipelines”.
“They’re (the Kochs) deeply passionate. They’re disciplined, and they’re also ruthless”. (Mayer, p373). The Kochs’ successes in “weaponizing philanthropy” (Mayer 228) in pursuit of their political agenda have been strongly reflected in the way their reach has spanned to preposterous ends. As for their future plans, one can only expect that their empire will only grow, for the Kochs have never been known to settle. As Charles famously said, “I just want my fair share—which is all of it” (Mayer, p378).
Freedom Project and the Koch Funding Controversy
Many have raised concerns with the controversy of the Koch Brothers’ monetary involvement in the Freedom Project due to their fear of “strings being attached” to these donations as well as other implications of Koch funding, while others seem to believe there have not been and will not be strings attached.
Mustafa Akyol, a Senior Visiting Fellow and two time speaker at the Freedom Project, denies the presence of Koch money in the project altogether, with, “In the past 15 months I spent at the Freedom Project, I have never heard anything about the ‘Koch money’ or the ‘Koch agenda’ from anybody who is affiliated with the Project. I heard this only from people who are outside, and who often seemed to have very limited information about what the Freedom Project is really doing,” he explained. Akyol went on to deny that Koch funding, if it occurred, would have come with any conservative agenda or strings attached. “There are about 50 scholars the Freedom Project has invited to Wellesley in the past five years, and only five or six of them would count as ‘conservative.’ Most are self-declared and prominent liberals… But in a bewildering bias, some people, including a Boston Globe reporter, only saw that conservative minority and wrote that Freedom Project is all about bringing ‘conservative speakers’ to the campus. I have rarely seen a remark this unfair”, Akyol proclaims. (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
Cushman, who does not deny Koch monetary involvement in the program, defends the “legitimacy” of the funding, which “includes gifts from alumnae donors and grants from various foundations. He claims he “proceeded exactly according to College procedures—procedures which all faculty institutes, centres and sponsored organizations are compelled to follow at the College”. He asserts that it was all“approved by the College administration” (Cushman, 2018). In addressing the idea of an underlying donor agenda, Cushman says “he has control over the program and isn’t beholden to donors” (Linskey, 2018).
In their article “President Johnson Announces Freedom Project Restructuring” published in the Wellesley News on April 11th, 2018, students Diana Paulsen and Jacqueline Sanchez shed light on some of the perspectives held by different alumni regarding Koch Funding. They quote Diane Ravitch ’60, “historian of education, educational policy analyst, research professor at New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development”and current Wellesley donor, on her belief that Koch funding negatively impacts her alma matter. “The very idea that [the Kochs] were promoting ‘free speech’ at Wellesley was both ironic, because they use their vast wealth to buy speech and drown out the voices of people who are not wealthy, and insulting, because Wellesley has always been a bastion of free speech, and the only kind of speech that is shunned is racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, which is hate speech,” Ravitch explained. Ravitch believes that the project should not continue if it continues receiving Koch funding (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
Paulsen and Sanchez also detail their conversation with another concerned alumna, Judith Walker ’73, who remains unconvinced, despite “Wellesley administration officials trying to assure her” after her efforts to find out more about the Freedom Project’s funding, that “only a small portion of the Freedom Project’s funds come from the Koch brothers”. The administration had reportedly said this after refusing to release their sources to Walker (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018). Walker concern, Paulsen and Sanchez note, is that “even if Koch money is technically only a small part of the funding, many other donors are connected to the Koch brothers”, giving the example of George and Nancy Records, who, according to Linskey’s article, had donated $1 million to the Freedom project with Koch persuasion (Linskey, 2018). The Records, Walker believed, were “members of the relatively insidious dark money network that the Kochs and other very right wing ideological billionaires had put together”. Walker iterates strongly that “the college needs to work hard to completely rid itself of Koch ties”. (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
“Kaila Webb ’20, the co-student director of the Freedom Project, has a different stance”, Paulsen and Sanchez note. Webb believes that the discussion of Koch funding “distracts from the important work that the Freedom Project is doing, especially in its scholars at risk program” (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018). She shares her concerns by proclaiming, “Many of our Scholars at Risk are not returning next year, in part due to the environment Wellesley has fostered for them. Wellesley might be losing fantastic resources if this isn’t handled properly; internships at multiple human rights organizations both domestic and abroad; funding for research on topics that otherwise will not occur . . . conference funds for gatherings of international human rights advocates” (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
Others have voiced their opinions on the matter. “Mary Robinson Koch, mother of the billionaire philanthropists, attended Wellesley and donated to the school’s financial aid fund. That means any student who receives need-based aid is also guilty by association” was one perspective (Ravola, 2018). In his memo, Larry Rosenwald, Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of American Literature and Professor of English at Wellesley College, quotes Eric Alterman, American historian, journalist, author, media critic, blogger, and CUNY Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College,who declares “If it’s a transfer of money from evil to me, that’s fine”. Rosenwald, on the other hand, believes that the only criterion that matters is whether the money comes with strings attached. He asserts that the Koch Foundation grant came to the college without such strings, and that the instead of discussing grant, the discussion should be brought to focus on how the College should act in the future. In his memo, Rosenwald also suggests that Wellesley has two core values, and how the Koch Foundation fundamentally opposes them. The first core value, “A commitment to scientific inquiry”, is rejected since the Koch Foundation is “an organisation espousing Holocaust denial”. The second core value, “A commitment to the equal inalienably dignity of every member of the College community”, he believes, is also violated by the foundation, which he refers to as “ an organisation advocating conversion therapy for non-heterosexuals” (Rosenwald Memo).
We had the opportunity to interview Rosenwald, during which he elaborated on his thoughts on the matter. At the time the Koch grant was announced in council, Rosenwald asked, “What does it mean for a college to convey its prestige on a foundation? Does it legitimize the organization?” He also purports that in the case of the Koch donations, perhaps the college community would have responded differently if Mary Koch, Wellesley alum and mother of the Koch Brothers, had given the donation herself, “If it had come directly from the alumna, wouldn’t have had the same response”. Rosenwald firmly stated his belief that it is “important for the college to have both the policy and a publicly identifiable body evaluating possible grants”, suggesting the formation of a “multi constituency group”. He raised the point, “There’s a surprising number of institutions who will refuse money from some donors for some reason…for example, medical schools refusing donations from tobacco companies…It isn’t preposterous that there should be some scrutiny from where the money is coming from.” On his concluding note, Rosenwald raised an important question in relation to funding sources and underlying donor agendas, “How, and or where can a line be drawn?”
Following Linskey’s exposing of the Kochs’ involvement in the Freedom Project, the Boston Globe asked Cushman whether he would invite Jane Mayer, author of Dark Moneyand a well-known Koch critic, on Wellesley’s campus to give a lecture. Cushman replied the Globe saying he wouldn’t do anything of the sort, since he didn’t think Mayer “properly provided balance in her… book chronicling the Koch Empire ‘Dark Money’”. Mayer took offense, claiming Cushman barred her from speaking. When Mayer was later invited to debate a Georgetown professor instead of giving a lecture, Mayer declined his invitation, taking to Twitter in response, “Great story (@AnnieLinskey). One addendum: I agreed to speak @Wellesley Freedom Center if Cushman would apologise, give me a regular slot not a debate, & donate honorarium to victims of Koch pollution” (Mayer on Twitter, 28 Mar 2018). Most of their exchanges regarding the situation can be viewed on Twitter.
McCabe stepped in defense of Cushman stating, “I had to read some of Mayer’s work on the topic, and as a political sociologist, I found it to be short on evidence and long on unwarranted conclusions” (McCabe). He continues, with “Instead, I suggested that we invite a Columbia political scientist, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, to present his cutting-edge research on the growth of the Koch political network and its effect on Congress at a faculty workshop”. In defending the program’s decision to not invite Mayer, McCabe declares, “If our goal really had been to hide our relationship with the Koch Foundation and silence the organization’s critics, inviting Hertel-Fernandez to discuss the Koch network would have been a bad idea. The fact that we did invite him suggests that mundane assessments of research rove our decision not to invite Mayer” (McCabe, March 2018).
In her later article, titled Koch effort at Wellesley will be overhauled after public attention, published in the Boston Globe on March 27th , Linskey discusses the immediate aftermath of the controversy. Cushman has “left campus for a year” (Linskey, 2018), to which Cushman seems to have verified on Twitter, with “On leave, in exile from Wellesley *smiling emoji with glasses*” (Cushman on Twitter, 10 Feb 2019). Linskey also says, “the college is overhauling the program, which brings conservative speakers to campus”.(Linskey, 2018). In reality, we are unsure as to whether or not the program has really been, or really will be overhauled, since the Freedom Project’s Twitter page and website have remained active since Cushman’s departure. Additionally, the Freedom Project has hosted multiple talks in the 2018-2019 school year, and has most recently held the Adam Smith Fellows Research Conference on April 13th, 2019, to which Cushman, on leave, tweeted about, with “So proud of those who have carried on this important work at Wellesley” (Cushman on Twitter, 12 April 2019).
On March 12thof 2018, Paula Johnson sent a campus wide email, indicating future steps and the “restructuring” of the Freedom Project (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018). Firstly, Johnson announced that Cushman would step down from his position as director of the project and be replaced (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018). The program is now currently being directed by Kathryn “Cappy” Lynch, Katharine Lee Bates and Sophie Chantal Hart Professor of Englishat Wellesley College. (Freedom Project Website). Johnson also announced the possible expansion of the Scholars at Risk program due to the “important sanctuary it provides to scholars who face grave threats for expressing their views (Linskey, 2018), and “the formation of a constituency of faculty, students, and staff ‘to explore the important role of free speech in an inclusive community’” (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
In response to questions about Koch funding, Trice Jacobson, spokeswoman for the Charles Koch Foundation, “declined to say whether the organization will continue to fund the Wellesley program with new leadership” (Linskey, 2018). In her article, How the Author of “Dark Money” Killed the Freedom Project, published by Capital Research Centre on April 4th, 2018, Christine Ravola offers her own take on the aftermath, “Wellesley’s administration… caved to the voices of intolerance, who objected to the mere appearance of Koch money or influence on their campus” (Ravola, 2018). “So another beacon of academic freedom has been banished from yet another college campus”, she adds (Ravola, 2018). Above the text on the article, reads, “Editor’s Note: As Ms. Mayer has pointed out, Capital Research Centre has received Koch funding in some of our 34 years (although not in 2016, 2017, or 2018). That funding has never been as much as 10 percent of our total funding and more typically less than 1%. We have also had the pleasure of hosting participants from both the Koch Internship Program and the Koch Associate Program” (Ravola, 2018).
However, whether or not these action steps are being taken, and what the implications of the possible continuation of the project will be, are questions we have not been able to answer definitively, since in our investigation, with every answer we found were more questions raised. A question we would like to consider now and explore, is “What shouldcome next?”
What should come next?
In attempt to answer the larger question “What shouldcome next?”, we have first raised a series of related questions, which we feel are integral to contextualising and understanding the controversial discussion of the Freedom Project and the possibility and direction of its future.
Through this we hope to create a fruitful discussion while keeping the idea of a Solidarity Economy and Beloved Community in mind, ensuring that we respect one another’s journey in growth, experiences, and opinions. In each of these questions, we have not only asked one another as well as our interviewees, but we also ask you, the reader, to thoughtfully consider these questions and how you would otherwise proceed.
Is there a “right-wing agenda” in the Freedom Project?
To this question, Cushman would have an immediate response.“People think we have some kind of right-wing agenda going on…But it’s not like that at all. I don’t get involved in their electoral projects at all.” (Ravola, 2018). In her article, Sapia also denies the possibility of such an agenda, reaffirming, “We are not an ideological mouthpiece and actually function as the opposite–a group of independently-minded thinkers who seek to ask questions and challenge the status quo”, using, “We talk about Palestinian refugee rights, color consciousness, freedom of speech, and campus diversity as well as post-hurricane communal development in rural New Orleans” as evidence. (Sapia, 2018). Ravola is convinced that the speakers do not make a “lineup of dyed-in-the-wool Republicans”, giving the examples of Northwestern’s “feminist-cum-titlle ix-critic” Laura Kipnis, “liberal author and bioethicist Alice Dreger”, Harvard’s “honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, Dr. Cornel, to support her statement. Ravola would probably interject by asking an opposite rhetorical question, about whether the program and the school has a left-wing agenda. “On the contrary, these are self-proclaimed feminists, democratic socialists, and a conservative who is sharply critical of President Trump”, she claims.
Despite the opinions stated above, many still remain critical of Koch involvement on campus due to their belief that the Koch funds are the sash and paper wrapped neatly around their right-wing agenda. One question we would have is whether or not “having no strings attached” is possible in the case of Koch Brother involvement, since it seems from their “academic projects” that in many cases, the billionaires have been guilty of “educational indoctrination” (Mayer, p56), with their political agenda seeping into the schools’ curriculums in some way, shape, or form. With Koch funding, would it be possible for the Freedom Project, for Wellesley to be an ideologically Koch-free campus?
One may argue yes, with the lack of strings attached, the project can do what it pleases with the funding. Meaning that they can invite whomever they’d wish to speak at the project, whether they align with a similar ideology as the Kochs or not. Once the grant is given, it cannot be returned, therefore the Freedom Project has free ideological reign.
However, others may argue that with the funding from the Koch brothers only lasting a certain number of years, the possibility of another grant is contingent upon not going against Koch wishes. This could be avoided through the donations of others who may not be so controversial, however, it could be considered, by some, as a greater risk for the Freedom Project as it is perhaps less sure that others would contribute such a sizable amount. Webb, who shares such fears, asserts “Wellesley might be losing fantastic resources if this isn’t handled properly; internships at multiple human rights organizations both domestic and abroad; funding for research on topics that otherwise will not occur . . . conference funds for gatherings of international human rights advocates” (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
Is there a difference between speech and harm? How free is and should free speech be? Where/ should the line be drawn?
We proposed this question following Cushman claim, “there are differences of opinion about the relationship between speech and harm” (Linskey, 2018). Many guest speakers and defenders of the Freedom Project during allegations regarding controversial and conservative speakers and topics brought at the project seem to use “free speech” as a default, implicitly rejecting the notion of a line being drawn. From his statement “In no way does an invitation of a scholar by the Freedom Project mean that all those involved with the Freedom Project agree with the views of any invited scholar” (Linskey, 2018), Cushman himself seems to draw the attention away from “free speech”, which some argue can be harmful, and instead focus on the agency of the listener, who he believes can choose to accept or reject given views.
Having left Wellesley for a year, Cushman continues to advocate for free speech in its absolute form. Most recently, Cushman took to Twitter to iterate his agreement with a free speech article shared by Greg Lukianoff, the first ever speaker at Wellesley’s Freedom Project, in which Lukianoff captioned, “Before you donate to your alma mater make sure they protect, defend, & teach academic freedom & #freespeech.Also demand your alma mater adds lessons on #freespeech(run by faculty) in student orientation” (Lukianoff on Twitter, 17 May 2019). Cushman tweeted “This (free speech) should be an absolute precondition for any donors no matter what their other interns are. No free speech, no respect for constitutional rights, no money for anything else. A movement could be developed around this” in response (Cushman on Twitter, 17May 2019).
Perspective contrasting Cushman’s are strongly held by others. In our interview with Lidwien Kapteijns, Elizabeth Kimball Kendall and Elisabeth Hodder Professor of History at Wellesley, she says, “I don’t think learning is always about comfort, but I do believe that some things are racist and diminishing of others”, clearly asserting her belief of there being a difference between free speech and harmful speech (Kapteijns Interview). Rosenwald, too had plenty to share on this question during our interview with him, where he continually reiterated his belief that speech can be harmful, and that even if a line should be drawn, actions should be taken to address this. Rosenwald voiced strongly, “I oppose vigorously the moralizing rhetoric in which people defend free speech” He expressed his desire to reject the notion that “Sticks and stones can break my bones but bones will never hurt me”, echoing, Speech can hurt… There is nothing wrong with students seeking respect and safety.” (Rosenwald Interview). “You actually have to pay attention to people’s experience instead of trying to talk them out of existence”, he continued. Despite his belief that speech can be harmful, that a line should be drawn, Rosenwald admits, “I don’t think there’s a way to write policy or law to keep people from being hurt, since we cannot presuppose what people think”. His suggestion, therefore, is that discussion should and must occur between peers in a respectful manner.
In our Solidarity Economics class discussion, some shared their opinion on where a line should be drawn. One student notes, “When speakers cease to base their work on already established scientific fact, then the line should be drawn…For example, Alice Dreger. She was defending a man who’s transphobic because of free speech but it was ‘questionable’ what evidence she was using to do that” (Gupta, 2019).
What should “diversity of views” mean, and how should these be reflected in and out of the classroom?
In reflecting on the issues many have taken with the “controversial speakers” on campus, we are led to question what definition of “diversity of views” is currently reflected in the Freedom Project. Some have explicitly shared, or painted a vague picture of their idea on “diversity of views”. However, we are led to question here, what exactly diversity of “views” implies in the context of the Freedom Project. Does it imply diversity of (political) ideology? Does diverse necessarily characterise controversial or polarised points of view?
Many students have expressed their distaste with the “conservative speakers” the Freedom Project has brought, and taken issue with choice of topics and method of delivery of these topics in the program’s past. They seem to oppose the idea that “diverse” should be equated to “conservative” or polarised points of view that directly oppose Wellesley’s prevailing liberal ideology. Interestingly, Webb, a strong supporter of the Freedom Project, also “called out the liberals”, by suggesting that the argument against “polarised” points of view could also be applied in the other direction, where only liberal views were represented. She points out that, “in contrast to the image of the Freedom Project as a right-wing brainwashing institution influenced by the Koch brothers, many of its speakers present on traditionally liberal topics such as criminal justice reform, open borders and feminism.” (Paulsen and Sanchez, 2018).
Others hold to different understandings of diversity, see this issue differently. Cushman seems to interpret “diversity of views” as strongly related to political ideologies, as he defends the programs’ speakers by saying they “Produced a diversity of views across the political spectrum” (Linskey, 2018). Sapia echoes Cushman, with “The Freedom project explores political viewpoints from across a broad spectrum”, iterating her belief that “diversity in views” should include “any view with academic legitimacy”, which she believes are all “worthy of discussion” (Sapia, 2018). She claims that the project “identified an impulse to isolate and ostracize viewpoints of all kinds that fall outside of Wellesley’s prevailing ideology” with no ideological agenda in mind. “We are not an ideological mouthpiece and actually function as the opposite–a group of independently-minded thinkers who seek to ask questions and challenge the status quo” (Sapia, 2018). Perhaps it could be interpreted here, that her understanding of “diversity of views” can refer to “viewpoints that fall outside of Wellesley’s prevailing ideology”, that invariably lead to “challenging the status quo”. She also, however, defends the Freedom Project’s diversity in choice of topics, with “We talk about Palestinian refugee rights, colour consciousness, freedom of speech, and campus diversity as well as post-hurricane communal development in rural New Orleans” (Sapia, 2018)
During the interview, Kapteijns expressed how she took issue with the Freedom Project being founded by Cushman “under the deanship Cappy Lynch (current director of the Freedom Project)”, on the basis of their shared desire for a“different” program, since “the majority of faculty are democrats”. She implies that in pursuit of “a diversity of views”, the Freedom Project staff seem to have taken “diverse” to mean “extreme” and “polar”. Throughout the interview, she spoke strongly against the idea of having such extreme speakers, glued to either ideological end, as part of the project in itself, with “I don’t think the two extremes in public are a good model for education”. She believes that the Freedom Project staff are inviting extreme speakers because “They seem to think that we can’t discuss other ideas and that we can only purport our own opinions”, Kapteij exclaims, “That’s not true at all… We don’t hide the objections and the other sides… We’re not brainwashing people, we are trying to get them engaged with the arguments.” She ends by reiterating that Wellesley students do not need extremeideas enforced upon them in order for them to formulate coherent opinions. “Wellesley students are often good enough to determine what they believe”. In her opposition of extremes, Kapteijns also raises an important point, that perhaps controversial topics can be discussed without the introduction of such polarised, opposed, extreme controversial views. She shared her belief that these topics can be discussed differently with all sides being viewed without bringing extreme, controversial speakers on to campus—a student space where students should be able to live and learn without being made feel disrespected.
In light of this issue, how can we create a Beloved Community?
In order to answer this question, the idea of “political correctness” must be taken into account with respect to the creation of a “Beloved Community”. With Wellesley’s prevailing liberal ideology, the hyper-concern with and fetishization of political correctness observed in Wellesley’s community has arguably created exactly the opposite of a Beloved Community adhering to Solidarity principles. “Trapped” in this bubble of “political correctness”, students can become afraid to share their true opinions, ask questions or discuss topics they want clarification on or have insufficient knowledge about, in fear of being penalised for a single “politically incorrect” term they use, or villainised for having a different opinion. Essentially, we live in fear that our differences, unawareness, and misinformation, will be mistaken for ignorance, offensiveness, and insensitivity. We purport ourselves as a diverse community, yet so often we forget that because we all have different lived experiences, it is impossible for us to know everything about everything, to always be in the right, or to always share the same opinions—we forget that all of us are still learning.
In her article, Ravola addresses the idea of political awareness and how, in her opinion, it has detrimentally affected elite institutions, particularly liberal arts schools like Wellesley, which she refers to as “bastions of illiberalism where students are coddled with safe spaces and trigger warnings” (Ravola, 2018). She suggests that “There is a very real possibility at many of our nation’s institutions of higher education, especially as curricular standards continue to be sacrificed on the altar of identity studies and competency-based curricular” (Ravola, 2018). However, she claims that “even on the most illiberal of campuses, there exist Oases of Excellence”, which by her definition, exist as “privately funded academic centres that pride themselves on providing students with a balance education” (Ravola, 2018), using the Freedom Project as an example.
While her claims cannot all be taken as truths at face value, Ravola does raise a valid point about how in valuing political correctness as the “be-all-end-all”, these “safe spaces” can actually become less than ideal environments for truly learning and growing. This is neither to say that there is no value in “political correctness”— in being aware and conscious of the things we choose to say, how we say them, our intention behind them, and the consequences they could bring, nor that, in the case of the Freedom Project, we should allow any and all speakers to come on campus without consideration for the validity and implications of their words. Rather, we should be aware of our words and their implications, but not without a little forgiveness. As Kapteijns puts, “Political correctness is not being unable to say what you think because it’s unpopular. It means you have to think twice before using a slur” (Kapteijns Interview).
In our interview, Rosenwald asked, “Will Wellesley students be prepared for the outside world? Will they learn to fight for what they believe in?” Sapia seems to have a positive response to this, claiming “Many Wellesley students were increasingly willing to engage with alternative trains of thought, as our lectures were more packed than ever and our student fellows had doubled since last year… this demonstrated Wellesley’s increasing open-mindedness and how far it has yet to go (Sapia, 2018)” It is important to note here, Sapia’s use of the word open-mindedness, as not being attached to any particular political ideology, liberal or conservative. In fact, open-mindedness, in the context of both the Freedom Project and in shaping the Wellesley community into a Beloved Community, requires being able to be open to considering, taking value, and learning from any given opinion and approach, regardless of whether it adheres to one’s specific ideas.
A student in our Econ class provided her perspective on the matter. “In an effort to prevent bigotry invading our Wellesley College public space, it is necessary to make sure that the rules we set out for our public space limit bigotry while simultaneously ensuring that alternative perspectives are not belittled or left out because they diverge from the dominant opinions of the group. Considering most students would agree that the Wellesley bubble exists, it is also important to allow alternative perspectives that are not discriminatory or prejudicial into our space because the real world i.e. internships, intramural sports, groups, future places of employment will force us to be around others who have alternative perspectives than ourselves and that of our collegiate environment. In order to be prepared to handle effective discourse with people of alternative opinions, it is vital to open your space to hearing said opinions. Hearing an array of opinions, allows individuals to stand firm in their opinions while simultaneously being able to receive others’ opinions and rebut where they see fit.” (Copeland, 2019).
In striving to create a Beloved Community that works to create solidarity and justice, we must redefine the idea of “safe”, to not be equated to absolute political correctness at all times, but to include acceptance of a learning and growing process that will require forgiveness of others and of ourselves. We all come from different backgrounds and have had different lived experiences, and must therefore be patient with one another and help each other grow by informing and respectfully correcting individuals when needed, without villainizing them. It is important to note that a liberal arts college like ours promotes lifelong learning and part of that is learning from peers. For it only with through kindness and solidarity that a community that values such as respect, love, peace, and trust, the celebration of diversity and dialogue, can truly be fostered and realised. (Beloved Community Statement, Econ 243, 2019)
What, then, should come next?”
In considering how we could translate the idea of a Beloved Community into the future of the Freedom Project, we were led to pose the following question, “Being cognizant of the diversity on Wellesley’s campus, how do we go about making sure that Wellesley students can feel safe and respected on their own campus while also respecting the freedom of student organizations, departments, and institutes to bring in whichever speakers they want to bring onto campus?”
Throughout the interview, Rosenwald highlighted the importance of having a conversationin the context of the Freedom Project. He remains “In favour of having organizations and individuals be able to invite whomever they would like”, since this could “enhance the range of viewpoints” represented at Wellesley, on the condition that “discourse should occur” at all times, especially when one party could be hurt or when there are disagreements. He brings up what he considers to be successful example of this. Twenty-some years ago, Dervishes were brought on Wellesley’s campus and Muslim students were appalled by the way they were discussing Muslim individuals. After the speech had ended, students from Wellesley Friends of Israel engaged in a long conversation with the Muslim students who had taken issue with the speech. Following the conversation, Wellesley Friends of Israel issued a public apology. Here, Rosenwald claims, the conversation occurring between those who felt offended and those who brought the speakers reflected how both sides showed care about the process. “It was great because it wasn’t based on laws, but on conversation”, he explains.
Rosenwald’s idea of a conversation should be taken into consideration in each step and aspect of the Freedom Project and its future, and should take place between all parties concerned. In terms of the funding process, the Freedom Project staff should have a conversationwith the Wellesley community and take into account the concerns and opinions of students and staff on donors before applying or accepting funds, or at the very least, implement some kind of transparency in the funding process. Students should allowed to be part of the conversationin terms of determining which speakers are to be brought on campus. This could be achieved with the establishment of an election-based student committee composed of open-minded, informed representatives with diverse views. Wellesley could consider becoming part of the UnKoch my campus initiative, to have a conversationabout the implications of having policies donors like Koch have implemented in educational institutions, and possibly rejecting these policies. Students should also have a conversation about the values, aim, and mission of the Freedom Project, and whether or not the project’s current programs and activities are reflecting them. From this discussion, students should consider proposing a new or altered set of values or initiatives for the Freedom Project that adhere to the creation of a solidarity, beloved community. We should have these conversationsoutside of, and beyond Wellesley’s walls. A first step could be engaging students from other schools in the discourse on Wellesley’s Freedom Project, then encouraging them to seek answers and make changes in similar projects on their campuses.
The creation of a Beloved Community may start at Wellesley, but it must not and will not end here.
Mayer, Jane. “Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer).” Twitter, Twitter, 20 May 2019, twitter.com/JaneMayerNYer?lang=en.
Copeland, Dominique, and Esther Fan. 17 May 2019.
Cushman, Thomas. “Freedom Project.” Received by The Wellesley Community, Freedom Project, 18 Feb. 2018.
Cushman, Thomas. “Thomas Cushman (@thomas_cushman).” Twitter, Twitter, 16 May 2019, twitter.com/thomas_cushman?lang=en.
Gillis, Justin, and John Schwartz. “Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Feb. 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-Soon.html.
Gupta, Isha, and Esther Fan. 17 May 2019.
Johnson, Paula A. “This Morning’s Boston Globe.” This Morning’s Boston Globe, 3 Feb. 2018.
Kapteijns, Lidwien, and Laryssa N Horodysky. 10 May 2019.
Linskey, Annie. “Koch Effort at Wellesley Will Be Overhauled after Public Attention.” BostonGlobe.com, The Boston Globe, 27 Mar. 2018, www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/03/27/koch-effort-wellesley-founders-after-public-attention/72BYUzr8Yzq85CeGVSYfXO/story.html.
Linskey, Annie. “With Patience, and a Lot of Money, Kochs Sow Conservatism on Campuses.” BostonGlobe.com, The Boston Globe, 2 Feb. 2018, www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/02/02/with-patience-and-lot-money-kochs-sow-conservatism-campuses/P6lrj1eIMNr4jPUZm8mbLO/story.html.
McCabe, Joshua T. “Wellesley’s Freedom Project Did Not Silence Koch Critics.” National Review, National Review, 30 Mar. 2018, www.nationalreview.com/2018/03/wellesley-freedo-project-controversy-koch-critics/.
Paulsen, Diana and Sanchez, Jacqueline. “Diana Paulsen, Jacqueline Sanchez.” The Wellesley News –, 11 Apr. 2018, www.thewellesleynews.com/2018/04/11/president-johnson-announces-freedom-project-restructuring/
Project, Freedom. “Freedom Project (@WellesleyFP).” Twitter, Twitter, 13 May 2019, twitter.com/WellesleyFP.
Ravold, Christine. “How the Author of ‘Dark Money’ Killed the Freedom Project.” Capital Research Center, Capital Research Center, capitalresearch.org/article/how-the-author-of-dark-money-killed-the-freedom-project/.
Rosenwald, Larry, and Laryssa N Horodysky. 7 May 2019.
Rosenwald, Larry. “To the Members of Academic Council.” To the Members of Academic Council, 27 Feb. 2018.
Sapia, Margaret Flynn. “Margaret Flynn Sapia.” The Wellesley News, 16 Feb. 2018, thewellesleynews.com/2018/02/16/freedom-project-promotes-diverse-viewpoints-in-contrast-to-globe-article/.
Soave, Robby. “Wellesley College’s Freedom Project in Trouble for Promoting Wrong Kind of Diversity.” Reason.com, Reason, 29 Mar. 2018, reason.com/2018/03/29/freedom-project-at-wellesley-college-get/.
“The Freedom Project.” Freedom Project | Wellesley College, new.wellesley.edu/freedomproject.