Sunshine scares academic-labor complex

It is not uncommon to find tax exempt and state-supported academic institutions hosting labor study centers that conduct research and offer training programs for unions. Because unions are highly partisan political powerhouses, the possibilities for abuse are endless, in effect funneling public money into politics (as may have been the case with ACORN). The left's dominance on most campuses only increases the hazzards.

Accordingly, The Landmark Legal Foundation (headed by Mark Levin, author of Liberty & Tyranny and national talk show host) has filed information requests and complaints with 11 academic institutions. Sunshine is as much anathema to the left-labor cozy campus arrangements as it is to Dracula. The American Association of University Professors, which is a labor union more than an academic organization is outraged, crying that academic freedom is at risk.  Inside Higher Education reports:

The requests have come from the Landmark Legal Foundation, which is a critic of organized labor. Landmark's complaints have sought detailed information about the activities of the labor centers, and suggested that they should be eliminated for not advancing a "public purpose," charging that these centers are simply about promoting a "particular political ideology."

The AAUP statement reads in part:

In the last few years the Landmark Legal Foundation has lodged public records requests of and complaints in regard to labor education centers in at least eleven public universities and colleges, including Florida International University, Indiana University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, the Universities of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts-Amherst, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and the Evergreen State College. Thus far, to our knowledge the most serious complaints, which threaten academic freedom, appear to have taken place at UC Berkeley and Evergreen, where the foundation seeks to restrict the work of the centers, in terms of who they serve and what they do. At Berkeley, Landmark's complaint alleged, among other charges, that the Labor Center provides services for private (union) benefit rather than for public benefit. At Evergreen, Landmark made a request for a state audit of the Labor Center, charging that this program "is in violation of Washington's requirement that public funds must only be used for a valid public purpose." The letter from Landmark went on to say that "Rather than a valid public purpose, the Center's activities are designed to promote a particular political ideology."

And, as AAUP acknowledges, investigators have found abuses:

However, at Evergreen, despite the fact that the state auditor gave the college significant flexibility in how to handle the audit request, college administrators went forward with a review - conducted by the college's internal auditor - that raised questions about the ethics of providing educational services to unions and community groups (for example, of immigrant communities), and of being involved in any work that could be seen as opposing the work of federal agencies (in this case, for example, Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Those questions mirrored charges made by Landmark that "the Center's focus appears to be increasingly directed toward thwarting federal and state law enforcement efforts to combat illegal immigration in Washington . . . . The use of public funds to undermine federal and local law enforcement in the performance of their duties is not a valid public purpose."

Academics are accustomed to zero public accountability for their use of public funds. In the leftist hothouse on campus, serving the cause of the left is often seen as a question of simple morality. The doctrine of academic freedom has been perverted into lack of accountability. Trustees and regents are told to keep their noses out of overseeing the relevance or utility of academic work (which is their reponsibility), leading to the proliferation of marginal and nonsense fields like postmodernism and queer studies, which waste money on worthless reserach, while failuing to educate the students in anything useful.

Academics often defend labor centers on the ground that they offer a counterbalance to business schools and economics departments. This is nonsense. Business is commerce and industry, activities upon which human welfare depends. It is the stuff of life, not of politics. Labor unions, on the other hand, exist only to enrich their members, and monopolize the supply of labor in a particular employment relationship. They are legalized cartels, operating for the benefit of their members, and besides most of the biggest ones devote a substantial portion of their income to political donations.
It is not uncommon to find tax exempt and state-supported academic institutions hosting labor study centers that conduct research and offer training programs for unions. Because unions are highly partisan political powerhouses, the possibilities for abuse are endless, in effect funneling public money into politics (as may have been the case with ACORN). The left's dominance on most campuses only increases the hazzards.

Accordingly, The Landmark Legal Foundation (headed by Mark Levin, author of Liberty & Tyranny and national talk show host) has filed information requests and complaints with 11 academic institutions. Sunshine is as much anathema to the left-labor cozy campus arrangements as it is to Dracula. The American Association of University Professors, which is a labor union more than an academic organization is outraged, crying that academic freedom is at risk.  Inside Higher Education reports:

The requests have come from the Landmark Legal Foundation, which is a critic of organized labor. Landmark's complaints have sought detailed information about the activities of the labor centers, and suggested that they should be eliminated for not advancing a "public purpose," charging that these centers are simply about promoting a "particular political ideology."

The AAUP statement reads in part:

In the last few years the Landmark Legal Foundation has lodged public records requests of and complaints in regard to labor education centers in at least eleven public universities and colleges, including Florida International University, Indiana University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, the Universities of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts-Amherst, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and the Evergreen State College. Thus far, to our knowledge the most serious complaints, which threaten academic freedom, appear to have taken place at UC Berkeley and Evergreen, where the foundation seeks to restrict the work of the centers, in terms of who they serve and what they do. At Berkeley, Landmark's complaint alleged, among other charges, that the Labor Center provides services for private (union) benefit rather than for public benefit. At Evergreen, Landmark made a request for a state audit of the Labor Center, charging that this program "is in violation of Washington's requirement that public funds must only be used for a valid public purpose." The letter from Landmark went on to say that "Rather than a valid public purpose, the Center's activities are designed to promote a particular political ideology."

And, as AAUP acknowledges, investigators have found abuses:

However, at Evergreen, despite the fact that the state auditor gave the college significant flexibility in how to handle the audit request, college administrators went forward with a review - conducted by the college's internal auditor - that raised questions about the ethics of providing educational services to unions and community groups (for example, of immigrant communities), and of being involved in any work that could be seen as opposing the work of federal agencies (in this case, for example, Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Those questions mirrored charges made by Landmark that "the Center's focus appears to be increasingly directed toward thwarting federal and state law enforcement efforts to combat illegal immigration in Washington . . . . The use of public funds to undermine federal and local law enforcement in the performance of their duties is not a valid public purpose."

Academics are accustomed to zero public accountability for their use of public funds. In the leftist hothouse on campus, serving the cause of the left is often seen as a question of simple morality. The doctrine of academic freedom has been perverted into lack of accountability. Trustees and regents are told to keep their noses out of overseeing the relevance or utility of academic work (which is their reponsibility), leading to the proliferation of marginal and nonsense fields like postmodernism and queer studies, which waste money on worthless reserach, while failuing to educate the students in anything useful.

Academics often defend labor centers on the ground that they offer a counterbalance to business schools and economics departments. This is nonsense. Business is commerce and industry, activities upon which human welfare depends. It is the stuff of life, not of politics. Labor unions, on the other hand, exist only to enrich their members, and monopolize the supply of labor in a particular employment relationship. They are legalized cartels, operating for the benefit of their members, and besides most of the biggest ones devote a substantial portion of their income to political donations.