A major union has severed all ties with the United Negro College Fund following the group’s recent acceptance of a $25 million grant from controversial industrialist brothers, Charles and David Koch, according to The Wire.
In a statement, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced that they are ending their paid internship program with the UNCF.
Under the terms of the Koch grant, the $25 million is to be applied towards the funding of historically black colleges, student loan assistance, and the creation of a “Koch Scholars” program, in which the two brothers will hold two of the five votes over which students receive scholarships.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders called the acceptance of the grant, “deeply hostile to the rights and dignity of public employees, but also a profound betrayal of the ideals of the civil rights movement.”
In his statement, Saunders said that he was initially “deeply troubled” when the organization accepted the Koch donation, believing that the UNCF didn’t support the views of the Koch brothers who are considered to be virulently anti-union. The move to sever ties with the organization came after UNCF President Michael Lomax spoke at Koch-hosted summit in June..
“This is a betrayal of everything the UNCF stands for,” Saunders stated. “Your appearance at the summit can only be interpreted as a sign of your personal support and the UNCF’s organizational support of the Koch brothers’ ideological program.”
Also speaking at the summit was Charles Murray, a conservative political scientist most notable for his controversial book, The Bell Curve, accused of using pseudoscience to imply that African-Americans and Hispanics are genetically inferior.
The discontinued AFSCME program allowed African-American sophomores and juniors to intern with the union, receiving a $4,000 stipend plus a $5,000 scholarship.