Transparent GMU Organizes Buchanan Hall Protest


By Ashley Stewart, Staff Writer

Students from Transparent GMU recently organized a demonstration at Buchanan Hall in support of their ongoing lawsuit against the school’s administration and the George Mason University Foundation.

“I hope that it raises awareness about this issue and shows people how important it is,” said senior Elizabeth Mathews, a Transparent GMU member. “This case could set a precedent for transparency in education.”

The student organization projected messages of public support against the side of  Buchanan Hall during the Oct. 25 demonstration, the night before their case’s second hearing in court.

“We’re seeing how the public views this issue,” said junior Janine Gaspari, another Transparent GMU member. “It’s really amazing to see the response and support to our case.”

The group chose Buchanan Hall as the site of their demonstration because it houses the Mason economics department on the second floor and was named to honor former Mason economics professor James Buchanan. Buchanan won a Nobel prize in economics for his work on public choice theory, and he was a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974. The Charles Koch Foundation is also one of the major donors to Mason through the private GMU Foundation. Transparent is suing the school and the GMU Foundation for access to records of those donations.

Buchanan Hall also houses several rooms of the Mercatus Center. The Mercatus Center is a policy think tank at Mason that focuses on policy research and bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems. The Mercatus Center is another focus for Transparent GMU because the it has received significant funding from private donors, and the student group is concerned with the center’s presence at Mason as a potential obstacle to academic freedom.

Photos Courtesy of Transparent GMU