Graduate Students

U. of Illinois and Conservative Group Agree to Keep Their Money Separate

October 06, 2008

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a group of conservative donors are separating their financial interests, The News-Gazette, a local newspaper, reported.

The donors founded the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund within the university’s foundation in 2006 to support teaching and research on free-market capitalism and related topics. After the fund went public last year, some professors questioned whether it had been established with enough faculty input.

Under the agreement announced today, the donors will continue their scholarly objectives while managing the fund as an independent nonprofit foundation, The News-Gazette said. It quoted the university’s chancellor, Richard H. Herman, as saying that “despite the good intentions of the donors and the university, there were structural incompatibilities between the fund’s operational mode and that of the university.”

In recent years, several universities have established centers financed by alumni and donor groups that seek to foster scholarship on topics like Western civilization and American history. Some of the groups specifically seek to counter what they see as liberal bias in academe, while others are more concerned with bolstering a traditional curriculum that they believe has been lost on their campuses. —Charles Huckabee