MSU professors open debate over center

BOZEMAN (AP) — Montana State University faculty members have opened debate on whether to establish an economics research center funded by a five-year grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the faculty senate’s decision Wednesday leads to a vote in two weeks on whether to approve the Center for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis. The $5.7 million gift from Republican donor Charles Koch was awarded in 2016.

Opponents of the center have raised concerns about how the Koch money would influence the university’s research. Economics professor Wendy Stock says research is being conducted without any political leanings.

Psychology professor Jessi Smith says the grant has already been funding research at the university, and that work can continue without establishing a research center.