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Letter to the editor: “Alumna asks for transparency on donated money”

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Concerning your article of November 12 (Alumna asks for transparency on donated money), I wish to make a clarification and offer a few comments. First, I want to clarify that members of the Beacon Hill Institute staff have not received money from the Koch Foundation. All BHI staffers, including myself, are paid a fixed annual salary for our work, irrespective of how much money we raise from any funder. If someone on our staff submits a grant proposal or is scheduled to do certain work in a grant proposal, there is no link between that person’s pay and the requested funds.

Second, and this is for your student readers to note, the campaign being waged by Ms. Jordan is just one manifestation of anti-free-speech movement now being waged throughout the country by the radical left. Ms. Jordan doesn’t want transparency.  She wants to ban Koch money for the simple reason this money may lead to teaching or research, the content of which she finds at odds with her ideological convictions. I am astonished that she has been able to get “thousands” of signatures on her “petition” to ban Koch money. I have to wonder if her signatories had the opportunity while studying here to learn that free expression is core academic value. In closing, I must thank President Smith for giving short shrift to Ms. Jordan’s attempt to enlist him in her political campaign.  She might take a lesson from his suggestion that he has better things to do and see if she can find something better to do with her budding career.

 

David G. Tuerck

Executive Director, Beacon Hill Institute

Professor of Economics

 

The newly-formed Suffolk Environmental Club was pleased to see The Suffolk Journal in an editorial piece call for greater transparency with respect to grants given to the university by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Last month, we voted unanimously to endorse the Koch Free Zone campaign because we believe enough evidence has been presented to show the influence of Koch money on the Beacon Hill Institute’s research. This concerns us not just as an environmental group, but as students in general who are held to a certain academic standard that appears to be absent at BHI.

Still, these concerns seem to be lost on President Norman Smith who told the Suffolk Journal that the university’s main criteria for use of donations are “how the donor wants the money to be used.” This sets a dangerous precedent, and without transparency and accountability, Suffolk University’s reputation and standing in the academic community will be up for sale to the highest bidder.

If President Smith is serious about academic integrity, the university’s reputation, not to mention our environment, he should agree to meet with students and show complete transparency when it comes to grants.

 

Suffolk Environmental Club

 

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The administration’s continued refusal to clarify Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation donation inconsistencies raises concerns.

The Suffolk Journal’s Nov. 12 issue discussed an apparent $11,000 discrepancy in reported donations between Suffolk’s newly released record and the Charles Koch Foundation’s 990’s submitted to the IRS.

Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning of things that don’t add up. Last year, Paul Bachman, Research Director at Beacon Hill Institute, told The Suffolk Journal that BHI had not received funding from the Kochs “in a couple years.” Suffolk University’s own records, which show BHI receiving  $8,000 in 2013 for a study by Bachman, tell a different story.

With money unaccounted for and repeated statements that don’t match up with reality, students and alumni have a right to be concerned. Despite this, President Norman Smith says he’s “unwilling to retrace everything that happened in every category over the past five years” – a weak excuse that itself is factually inaccurate considering the Charles Koch Foundation’s website shows donations to Suffolk as recently as October 2014.

Though we’ve sent three requests to his office, President Smith is so far unwilling to meet with concerned students and alumni to answer their questions face to face.

Students have raised fair questions and deserve fair answers. We hope the university will finally come around to giving them.

 

Kalin Jordan

Suffolk alumna

Koch Free Zone campaign

 

 

 

Letters to the editor are always welcome in the Journal. 

Letters must be at least 200 words and should be submitted to [email protected] by 5 p.m. on Monday. 

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Letter to the editor: “Alumna asks for transparency on donated money”