The University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom (called the “Freedom Center”) was founded in 2008 with grant money from the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch allies Ken and Randy Kendrick of Phoenix. Over the years, it has received funds from various conservative foundations. The Arizona legislature has dedicated $6.3 million to it since 2016, because it promotes a right-wing agenda.
In 2016, the Freedom Center launched a dual-enrollment high school course in Arizona and Mexico entitled “Ethics, Economy & Entrepreneurship.” The textbook for this course is an embarrassment for the UA. It blatantly proselytizes for a right-wing libertarian point of view. Under pressure from Kochs Off Campus! and other concerned citizens, in December 2017 the Tucson Unified School District board of directors cancelled the course.
In 2017, the Arizona Board of Regents approved a new department to house the Freedom Center. Called the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science, it will be able to hire economics professors without approval of the UA’s Economics Department. Its first staff person, Jonathan Anomaly, advocates de-funding public education and has written consciously controversial articles on “Defending Eugenics” and racism.
This year, UA faculty members are circulating a petition to UA President Robert Robbins, asking him to sever all University ties to the Freedom Center and the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science.
Kochs Off Campus! is a nonpartisan group of Tucson residents, UA faculty and students concerned about the undue influence of right-wing money on public education, and public subsidies for right-wing institutions.