Suffolk University's economic research think tank, the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), had deep financial ties to the Koch Brothers.
That is, until Kalin Jordan came along.
Kalin Jordan, co-founder of UnKoch My Campus, was a media strategist working to help students. An alumna of Suffolk University--Kalin was concerned that her university was offering up BHI as a private mouthpiece for monied interests. The Charles Koch Foundation donated $1,005,328 to Suffolk from 2008-2015. Most of this money, the Suffolk Journal reported, has gone to the Beacon Hill Institute.
Worse, there was amassing evidence that the money was backing scholars who were peddling dishonest research for political purposes. Media reports exposing BHI's track record of flawed research and unethical fundraising practices. BHI's research model, STAMP, has been criticized by economist Frank Ackerman for built-in assumptions that appeared to manipulate the outcomes of BHI research. In December of 2013 The Guardian obtained a research proposal from BHI to the Searle Freedom Trust in which BHI proposed to "carry out research with the express purpose of undermining a regional climate change initiative." Before battling climate and clean energy laws, BHI's founding economist & professor David Tuerck was a consultant for the Tobacco industry.
Kalin Jordan led a three year effort to rally the Suffolk community and demand accountability for the ethical lapses that were inherent to BHI's privately-financed operations. Kalin's "Koch Free Zone" campaign garnered over 20,000 petition signatures to then-President James McCarthy, with the help of Forecast the Facts (now ClimateTruth). She successfully fought for disclosure of Suffolk's private research grants, an unusual step for a private university.
As these events unraveled, Kalin co-founded UnKoch My Campus with a handful of other students, alumni and activists with similar concerns. Her work at Suffolk was a cornerstone of our campaign.
Suffolk is the only school to UnKoch" after taking over one million dollars from Charles Koch.
Kalin's successful work resulted in a tremendous amount of media attention. Our favorites include:
- Washington Post exclusive interview with Charles Koch (June, 2016)
- Boston Globe feature article (Dec, 2015)
- Center for Public Integrity, TIME, and Al Jazeera investigation (Dec, 2015)
- Center for Public Integrity, The Atlantic, and Al Jazeera investigation (Oct, 2015)
- Student Press Law Center (SPLC) report on university foundations (Sept. 2015)
- Wall Street Journal letter to the editor (Apr, 2015)
- USA Today letter to the editor (Dec, 2015)
- U.S. News and World Report op-ed (Nov, 2015)
- Moyers & Company / PR Watch op-ed (Apr, 2015)
- WPKN Counterpoint Radio interview with Scott Harris (Nov, 2015)
Kalin Jordan can be found on Twitter @kalinj.
Kalin Jordan: Archived bio
From 2014 - 2016, Kalin Jordan was a charter staff member of UnKoch My Campus. She was one of our grassroots campaign specialists working to help students, alumni, and faculty across the country maintain academic integrity and diminish the influence of corporate interest over universities.
Kalin Jordan is an experienced grassroots organizer, campaign staffer and political consultant. Since 2008, she has managed progressive political campaigns in New England, guided social media initiatives as an intern for former Senator Kerry, run for public office in New Hampshire, consulted and managed for various electoral campaigns.
Kalin is an avid supporter of women's reproductive rights and committed volunteer for Planned Parenthood, most recently as a grassroots organizer in New Hampshire. She is a cum laude graduate of Suffolk University and started the Koch Free Zone campaign in September of 2013.
KochFreeZone.org has a running petition calling on the university to:
- Fully disclose how much money the Koch Brothers have donated to Suffolk University and what specifically this money has funded.
- Review the research methodology of BHI, STAMP.
- Stop taking funding from the Kochs brothers.