Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: I suspect the Wall Street Journal published this letter just to stir things up. Comments at the Wall Street Journal site are predictably vicious. Not surprisingly, nobody applauds the writers.]

Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

In her critique of our efforts to increase transparency on campus, Kimberley A. Strassel implies that disclosure of major donor funding is something to be feared because it is "shutting down debate across the country" ( The Campus Climate Crusade, Potomac Watch, March 27). This argument is inherently flawed because without disclosure there can be no debate.

UnKochMyCampus is a grass-roots campaign made up of students who have seen firsthand the undue influence Koch money has on campus in the form of undisclosed, quid pro quo arrangements that give them a say on curriculum, hiring decisions and research outcomes. For example, at Florida State University the Charles Koch Foundation stipulated final approval of hiring economics professors as part of its donor agreement. In Clemson's agreement, limits were placed on teaching and research content, requiring that "an appreciation of economic freedom" be fostered. Documents released last year revealed that the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) housed at Suffolk University in Boston also promised its corporate donors studies that would pave the way for "legislative activity that will pare back or repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative." Without transparency in that case, we would have never known that BHI was promising reports with foregone conclusions.

We do not seek to stifle debate on campus, nor do we discourage private donations from anyone. We welcome the debate; we just want to know whom we're debating.

The authors are co-founders of UnKochMyCampus.

Kalin Jordan and Lindsey Berger

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.