Who Funds College Fix?
Between 2012 and 2019, Student Free Press Association (SFPA) received $1,802,653 from Koch family foundations, the Bradley Foundation, and DonorsTrust, and Donors Capital Fund (see Appendix 1 in Free Speech and Koch Money). Today, SFPA’s board of directors includes many donors with longstanding connections to the Koch network, including the president of Art Pope’s charitable foundation and the son of Betsy and Dick DeVos. According to its 990 tax filings, SPFA received $816,106 in contributions in 2019. The amount of donations has risen steadily since 2015, when it received donations totally $240,765.
According to reporting by Inside Higher Education, The College Fix specializes in generating “provocative headlines [that] tend to be skeptical of higher education and frequently criticize the prevalence of liberalism on college campuses.” Its 2018-19 Prospectus claims that its primary purpose is to “help correct the bias that plagues our universities“ by using “campus-focused journalism” to “bear witness to the ongoing scandal of political correctness and left-wing orthodoxy.” As with Campus Reform, the College Fix also pays student “journalists” to write stories, although a significant amount of the website’s content is attributed to “College Fix Staff” or to Dave Huber, the Associate Editor. According to tax records, in 2019, College Fix spent $34,900 paying student reporters.
The College Fix is operated by the Student Free Press Association (SFPA), which was founded in 2010 by the National Review’s John Miller and Whitney Ball. As founder of DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, Ball was a major player within the Koch donor and political network, heading the donor-anonymized funds that have become the “dark money ATM of the conservaitive movement.” SFPA originally billed itself as an “individual membership organization” comprised of “college-aged writers, bloggers, tweeters, podcasters, and viral video makers.” As a membership organization, SFPA claimed that its purpose was to “identify and support college students who seek to improve campus journalism, explore careers in the media, and commit themselves to the principles of a free society.” In 2011, however, SFPA launched the College Fix with an identical mission, minus any mention of the “individual membership organization.” This change corresponded with wealthy outside donors replacing individual memberships as the SFPA’s primary funding source.
SourceWatch, “College Fix”
Paul Fain and Rick Seltzer, “Family Ties,” Inside Higher Ed, February 7, 2017.
Pam Vogel, “The Conservative Dark-Money Groups Infiltrating Campus Politics,” Media Matters, March 29, 2017.
Kamola, Isaac. “Dear administrators: To protect your faculty from right-wing attacks, follow the money.” Journal of Academic Freedom 10 (2019): 1-24.
**Information on this page was originally published in: Free Speech and Koch Money: Manufacturing a Campus Culture War (with Ralph Wilson, Pluto Press, 2021)