Academic Freedom, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation

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Date: 2004

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion Language

Medium: Mixed Media


Artist: Academic institutions across the United States

Confronting Bodies: The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations

Date of Action: May 2004

Location: Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Cornell, and Columbia universities, as well as the Universities of Chicago, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Description of Artwork: Any organizations or activities that could promote or support terrorist activities.

The Incident: In May 2004 the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations added statements to their grant contracts with the listed universities that threatens to withdraw funding for any program that promotes "violence, terrorism, bigotry or the destruction of any state." The statement also requires that a grantee shall not "directly of indirectly engage in, promote or support other organizations or individuals who engage in or promote terrorist activity." Academics at these schools fear that the terminology used in the contracts will limit First Amendment freedom pertaining to subjects like Israeli-Palestinian relations. The foundations fear that the money they donate could indirectly support terrorist activites.

Results of Incident: Provosts at nine schools co-signed a letter warning the foundations of potential dangers to their First Amendment rights.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 5/4/2004