LAWRENCE – A student seeking records about the financial relationship between the University of Kansas and billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch has raised the $1,800 the school required to fulfill her request.
Schuyler Kraus, president of the Students for a Sustainable Future, filed the Kansas open records request last month.
She wants to know about the financial relationship between Art Hall, the executive director of the university’s Center for Applied Economics, and the Koch brothers, who support and donate heavily to Republican causes.
The university told Kraus it would cost $1,800 to provide the information because the request covered more than 10 years and would require the work of several offices, The Lawrence Journal-World reported ( ).
“I feel like because we are tuition-paying students and taxpaying Kansans, there shouldn’t be a fee or it should be minimal,” Kraus said.
Members of the Kansas chapter of the American Association of University Professors donated $1,000 to her group’s effort, and other donations raised the rest.
“I personally believe that asking for so much money, especially of students, is just inappropriate,” said Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, president of the Kansas chapter of AAUP.
Hall was chief economist of the public-sector group at Koch Industries Inc. in Wichita from 1997 to 2004. The Center for Applied Economics is a research center funded by the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation and other private donors. It was established in 2003 with support from the Koch Professorship in Business and Economics and the Koch Foundation.
The Journal-World reported that Hall could not be reached for comment, but University of Kansas Business School Dean Neeli Bendapudi defended him in a letter to the newspaper. The Center for Applies Economics is part of the business school.
“We ask of him what we ask of every faculty member in our school: to have strong credentials, to be effective in the classroom, and to be respectful of different points of view. He does that admirably as evidenced in his receiving the 2014 MBA Association Educator of the Year Award, which is voted on by students,” Bendapudi wrote.