Critics of the new Wake County school board majority are again hammering the connection between board members and conservative businessman Art Pope.
A group of N.C. students sent out a press release today announcing plans to protest tonight's on-campus speech that's organized by a group funded by the John W. Pope Foundation. According to the press release "protesters will voice their concerns about the role this ideological foundation has played at their University and as a force behind the new Wake County School Board majority."
"How much influence have [Pope']s dollars had on my education, and how much money are he and his buddies spending to install misguided puppets who are set on dismantling Wake County's nationally recognized diversity policy and sending us back to the Jim Crow segregated South?" said Vidya Shankar, an NC State undergrad, in the press release.
Similar attempts to link Pope through the foundation and his political contributions have increasingly been used by critics of the new board.
The state NAACP alluded to Pope and conservative businessman Bob Luddy in the complaint filed Friday. The NAACP's complaint referenced last week's front-page article in the liberal Independent about "Wake County Goes To Hell."
"In Wake County, in fact, the same multimillionaire conservative helped fund the anti-health care protests and the campaign to seize the school board: Raleigh businessman and former state Rep. Art Pope," writes Bob Geary in the article.
Here's the press release on the protest:
STUDENTS AND WAKE COUNTY STUDENTS PICKET A JOHN POPE FOUNDATION LECTURE SERIES TO DEMAND HANDS OFF PUBLIC EDUCATION
WHEN: Monday, March 8, 2010 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: SAS Hall at NC State University, 2311 Stinson Drive, Raleigh NC
Raleigh, N.C. – Students and Wake County citizens are concerned about the role the John W. Pope Foundation, Art Pope, and their affiliate organizations (such as the John Locke Foundation and the Civitas Institute) have played in providing strategic advice and financial support to the new Wake County School Board majority.
Tonight the Pope Lecture Series at NC State, which is supported by a grant from the John W. Pope Foundation, features former Bush speechwriter David Frum. The event is hosted by the Society for Political Science, Economics, and Law, a student organization that has been funded by the Pope Foundation since at least 2004.
Media is invited to a demonstration outside the lecture. Protesters will voice their concerns about the role this ideological foundation has played at their University and as a force behind the new Wake County School Board majority.
The John W. Pope Foundation advocates the privatization of public and non-profit high education, opposes any kind of regulation of racist or sexist speech on campus, and has also attacked university women’s centers, women and gender studies curricula, and multi-cultural studies curricula. Their brother organization, the John Locke Foundation, advocates a “school choice” agenda that promotes school vouchers and an expansion of charter schools.
"The public has a right to know how much money Art Pope has thrown at public universities and the funding of candidates for political office to advance his own political ideology," says Vidya Shankar, an NC State undergrad, "How much influence have his dollars had on my education, and how much money are he and his buddies spending to install misguided puppets who are set on dismantling Wake County's nationally recognized diversity policy and sending us back to the Jim Crow segregated South?"
The demand of the protesters is simple: Art Pope – Hands Off Our Public Education!