Munk Donation Memorandum (now publicly available!)

The Munk Foundation’s contract with the University of Toronto is now publicly available on the UofT’s website.

This contract was negotiated behind closed doors and not made public until after it was finalized. Additionally, the contract imposes many conditions on the University that compromises its academic integrity, offering undue influence to donors for a price.

Most troubling in this contract is the inclusion of annual progress reports as a condition of receiving funds. This condition requires that the University provide a detailed written report indicating descriptions of programs, initiatives and activities of the Munk School of Global Affairs. It also requires that the Director of the School meet annually with the Donor’s board of Directors following the submission of the detailed report.

As there is a $15 million gift that can be terminated based on the Donor’s determination as to whether the school is achieving it’s objectives, and considering that the Donor would meet regularly with the school’s director, it is clear that this contract could enable the donor to exercise undue influence over the Munk School’s program areas.

As Peter Munk is the founder and acting chairman of a gold mining company, Barrick Gold, which is accused of human rights abuses, environmental violations, and corrupt practices at many of their operations around the globe, this donor relationship is particularly troubling. Additionally, Munk’s influence in the School is especially troubling as the school’s area of study, International Relations and Global Policy, are areas in which Munk has vested business interests.

Moreover, the manner with which this contract was approved reveals serious flaws in the University’s process for accepting and receiving donations. It reveals that the University does not have proper measures to ensure that these conflicts of interest do bias the University’s curriculum. Furthermore, the University’s reputation is at stake when it brands itself with the names of leaders of questionable industries and businesses.

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