Arizona State University (ASU)’s Barrett Honors College is sponsoring a “Health, Wealth & Happiness” panel discussion on February 8 featuring Rich Dad Poor Dad bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki, conservative leaders Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk, and wellness expert Dr. Radha Gopalan. Most of the faculty at Barrett — 37 of 47 members as of February 2 — denounced Kiyosaki, Prager, and Kirk in a February 1 letter addressed to the dean. Kiyosaki spoke to The Arizona Sun Times about the criticism.
“If they picket me, this won’t be the first time I’ve been received like this,” he said. Kiyosaki served in the Marines as a gunship pilot during the Vietnam War, and when he returned home, protesters targeted him and his fellow Marines and spat on them. Kiyosaki has written over 26 books related to finance, and Rich Dad Poor Dad is the best-selling personal finance book of all time.
The faculty letter stated, “We, the undersigned Barrett faculty, write to condemn the ‘Health, Wealth, and Happiness’ event the TW Lewis Center for Personal Development is scheduled to host on February 8th, 2023, and to express a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the Lewis Center.” The letter specifically objected to Kiyosaki, “Our concerns with the appearance of Robert Kiyosaki, whose key claims in his bestselling book have been widely debunked and whose public speaking engagements on wealth generation have been exposed as sales schemes, at the 2/8 event are in this vein.”
The faculty members reserved their harshest words for Praeger and Kirk, referring to them as “two white nationalist provocateurs,” “bigoted,” “purveyors of hate,” “extreme anti-intellectual,” and stating “they regularly attack our democracy, promoting ‘the big lie’ about the 2020 election,” listing the titles of numerous negative articles about the pair.
The letter concluded, “We hope to hear from you soon regarding this urgently important matter. Our collective efforts to promote Barrett as a home for inclusive excellence demand that we distance ourselves from the hate that these provocateurs hope to legitimate by attaching themselves to Barrett’s name.”
Dr. April Miller, the faculty chair, sent an additional letter to her students denouncing the event for “exceedingly hateful rhetoric that is harmful to many marginalized communities; anti-public education platforms; and health/medical disinformation.” She also criticized the event on Twitter, but shortly afterward deactivated her account. According to The Gateway Pundit, she tweeted, “When your college sells its soul to the ‘highest’ bidder, this is the result. What an outrageous embarrassment. Money over ethics, donors before students.”
A source from the ASU community told The Sun Times that other professors have also been reportedly badmouthing the panel to their students. Several students, the source said, expressed concern about pushing back against their professors’ assertions for fear of retaliation.
Faculty chair Jenny Brian and faculty fellow Alex Young also took to Twitter to criticize the speakers. Young asked, “[I]s it a private event at which Kiyosaki, Kirk, and Prager can trash education and enrich themselves?” He hit like on a tweet that said, “If ‘Health, Wealth & Happiness’ doesn’t scream oily juice cleanse pyramid scheme, I some have sh**** leggings to sell you.” He liked a tweet that said, “I mean, Charlie Kirk will certainly have some remarkable comments about human enlightenment right alongside his racist take on Somali immigrants, I’m sure.” Many of Young’s tweets attacked Kari Lake and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Brian, whose Twitter feed also bashed Republicans, hit like on a tweet by AZ Right Wing Watch that said, “Arizona State University holding an event with Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk on health and human enlightenment. WTF are they going to talk about, how to sell fake vaccination cards at AmericaFest?”
Three ASU professors wrote a piece for The Daily Wire defending the university. History Professors Donald Critchlow and Jonathan Barth and Philosophy and Religious Studies Professor Owen Anderson said, “Faculty letters like the one condemning Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk reinforce campus conformity and function as a not-so-subtle way to intimidate and silence would-be dissenters among the faculty and student body.”
They listed several common right-leaning viewpoints and pointed out, “The letter implies that any of the following views would render one unfit for speaking at a university.”
They added, “[S]tudy after study shows that the political and ideological affiliation of faculty nationwide does not bear even a close resemblance to those of the American public writ large.”
Kiyosaki, the author of over 26 books, told The Sun Times his talk is going to be about the history of money in the U.S.
“I’m a student of money,” he said, “I hate ignorance.” He said it’s important for people to understand that in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson took silver out of coins, then in 1971, President Richard Nixon detached currency from the gold standard.
“Every time they print money, there’s been war,” he said, pointing out what happened in the Weimar Republic during the Nazi era as an example. The U.S. is the biggest debtor nation in the world, he continued. By taking over education, the left was able to transform the country’s mentality on finances, he said.
One of Kiyosaki’s books is If You Want To Be Rich & Happy Don’t Go To School: Insuring Lifetime Security for Yourself and Your Children. It covers a theme also prevalent in his Rich Dad Poor Dad book, which is that higher education doesn’t teach students to think outside of the box and work for themselves, instead it locks them into a career where they are merely workers, trained in a mindset that does not create passive and investment wealth. He followed up with Fake Money, Fake Teachers, Fake Assets: How Lies Are Making the Poor and Middle Class Poorer. He referred to PHDs as “poor, helpless, and desperate.”
Kiyosaki said he wants public schools and higher education to teach students responsibly about finances.
“Why don’t we teach kids about money, that it’s fake? The poor are working for fake money.”
He emphasized that he is not against teachers, “I’m just an educator,” the author said.
His father, the “poor man” he refers to in his bestselling book, was a university professor. Unfortunately, he said teachers object to teaching financial information; however, he thinks is necessary for schools.
He said people shouldn’t ask, “how many degrees do you have,” instead, they should ask, “show me your financials.” He refers to that as “a report card when you grow up.” He pointed out that “bankers never asked me for my report card or my GPA.”
He told The Sun Times about his latest book, Capitalist Manifesto, which exposes the creep of Marxism in the country. He said the country took two noticeable shifts toward Marxism within the past 100 years. The first happened in the 1930s, when communists sent teachers for training in Marxism at Columbia University. The second took place when “Trump was taken down” in 2020, referring to the voter fraud in the election.
Kiyosaki said the wealthy and the government control a lot of the major financial shifts in the country, such as causing the 2008 economic collapse, which hurt the middle class. The government deliberately meddles with oil, he said he believes, for malicious reasons. He wrote Who Stole My Pension, How You Can Stop the Looting, on how the country is headed for “the next Lehman moment,” a financial crisis that will affect pensions.
He avoids investing in the stock market, avoiding anything part of the “government system.” He doesn’t trust Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, or the Treasury. Instead, he made his money in real estate and owns many properties in the greater Phoenix area.
“There are no taxes in real estate unlike in the stock market,” he said, referring to the ability to buy and sell properties without paying taxes. He wrote The ABCs of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss. He also wrote Tax-Free Wealth: How to Build Massive Wealth by Permanently Lowering Your Taxes.
In 2014, Kiyosaki co-authored a book with Donald Trump, Why We Want You To Be Rich: Two Men One Message. He created a game called CashFlow to educate people about how money works, “to fight communism.” There are levels of it for younger children.
Although there has been no official response from ASU to the faculty letter, some of the advertising has been removed from TVs around campus. The Daily Wire article pointed out that ASU President Michael Crow has fostered an atmosphere of “intellectual diversity,” adopting the Chicago Statement of Freedom of Expression, which states that “it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”
Previously, events put on by Barrett were not open to the public. This one will be; tickets can be purchased here.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Robert Kiyosaki” by Rich Dad Poor Dad. Photo “Dennis Prager” by Dennis Prager. Photo “Charlie Kirk” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Barrett Honors College” by Arizona State University.