Following the Koch arrangement, FSU President Eric Barron said the university should be more careful when negotiating future deals. (Photo courtesy of FSU.)

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Could the brouhaha over the Koch Brothers’ $1.5 million donation to Florida State University be coming to an end?

On Friday, a faculty review of the contract between FSU and the Charles G. Koch Foundation — which carried hiring stipulations and curriculum prerequisites that many in the academic community found unacceptable — reached the conclusion that it was indeed valid, if less than desirable.

The outcome was one of those rare moments when everybody claimed to be happy with the result.

The Koch Foundation — the philanthropic arm of billionaire libertarian/tea party brothers Charles and David Koch — was elated that their contract had been upheld.

“We are pleased that this review of the facts by the faculty committee confirms what FSU administrators have said — that the agreement with the foundation protected academic integrity and added significant value to FSU,” Ryan Stowers, the director of higher education programs at the Koch Foundation, said in a written statement.

But according to the St. Petersburg Times, which has taken the lead on this story, the significance of the faculty review was that it sent a message that future donors wouldn’t have that kind of power.

And, in fact, FSU President Eric Barron did conclude, “The instruction is: let’s be more careful about how we write these agreements.”

Progress Florida, the liberal group that delivered a 9,000-signature petition asking Barron to void the deal, said it was unhappy that the faculty review hadn’t recommended overturning the deal. But they focused on the part of the review that criticized the agreement, as well as Barron’s commitment not to enter into a similar agreement in the future.

So FSU gets to keep the $1.5 million. The Koch Foundation gets to keep its contract and influence. The FSU faculty gets to make a statement about academic integrity. Barron gets to sound statesman-like. And promises are made all around not to do something like this in the future.

And everybody’s happy.