On Jan. 9, Associated Students of Portland State’s Equal Rights Advocacy Director Kaitlin Hoback presented a resolution to the student senate to condemn the Murdock Trust, which provides PSU and other universities with research funds.
As outlined in the resolution, the Murdock Trust’s funding of the Freedom Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Portland Fellowship and fake-crisis pregnancy centers shows support of organizations that are harmful to the PSU community. The resolution also detailed the Murdock Trust’s affiliations with gay conversion therapy in Oregon and anti-LGBTQ laws, as well as ties to organizations with practices of undermining worker unions.
On Jan. 20, the Northwest Accountability Project, an organization whose mission in part includes illuminating special interests advancing agendas of “hate and division,” published an article on their website titled, “Donald Trump & the Murdock Trust: Two Peas in a Pod.”
Published on the day of the president-elect’s inauguration, the article linked several statements President Donald Trump has made endorsing groups funded by the Murdock Trust. According to NWAP’s article, this support would initiate the work required to put his pre-election promises into effect. One such example is Alliance Defending Freedom, which provided model legislation and support for various states enacting anti-LGBTQ bills.
While the NWAP website doesn’t provide quotes or citations for the claims they assign to Trump, the article links to several instances of the Murdock Trust funding organizations that oppose worker’s rights, climate change policy and queer and women’s rights. These have all been concerns raised in national dialogue, with the president-elect choosing a secretary of labor who has criticized worker protections, a climate change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and a vice-president who has enacted legislation allowing discrimination on the grounds of religious freedom.
The official senate proposal Hoback put forth to ASPSU called for PSU’s condemnation of the trust on the grounds of the senate’s deep commitment to “standards of ethics, justice, equality and human rights for all.”
The resolution concluded with the ASPSU stating its condemnation of the trust and calling for PSU’s administration and Board of Trustees to “take a stance on the Murdock Trust and its funding of organizations that negatively impact Portland State University students.”