Koch foundation gives $1M for NHIOP ‘research’

Em Craig, Editor-in-Chief

Brother Isaac Murphy, O.S.B., the College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, recently announced “some “exciting news regarding the Center for the Study of New Hampshire Politics and Civic Life, which is housed within the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP).”

The email announcing this news was not shared with students, only to faculty, staff, and the members of the monastic community on campus.

The Center is one of four research centers that, with NHIOP’s founding in 2000, were “inaugurated with the goal of advancing academic research in politics,” says Br. Isaac.  

These centers “emphasized a particular topic area’s application to civic life with special attention given to facilitating undergraduate research projects and soliciting undergraduate involvement.”

A “federal gift” made the foundation of the NHIOP possible and, during the first few years of the NHIOP, “the college was not successful at first in soliciting private gifts to sustain the centers once the federal money came to an end.”

Two of the four research centers were able to obtain financial support; however, that still left the other two in need of “private gifts” in order to continue research.

Br. Isaac announced on Friday, Nov. 9, that the Charles Koch Foundation gifted the College a $1,000,050 grant that will be utilized in further development of the Center for the Study of New Hampshire Politics and Civic Life.

The grant from the Koch Foundation will be used in the creation of the following “positions and activities” for the Center: Director of New Hampshire Research; undergraduate support in the form of lecture series, reading groups, and research fellowships; outreach activities such as research workshops, publications, conferences, and symposiums; and Center support along the lines of office space, administrative support, and information technology.

The Director of New Hampshire Research will “oversee the Center […] and will devote time and resources to directing and overseeing all of the undergraduate programs and outreach activities associated with it.”

Additionally, the Director will “promote the study of New Hampshire politics in comparative perspective in order to facilitate a better understanding of state and local governance through quality publications, informative debates, and rigorous research.”

The Charles Koch Foundation’s mission is to “seek to identify programs and scholars working to understand how to move toward a society of equal rights and mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping others improve their lives,” as stated on their website.

Richard Vedder from Forbes magazine reported that critics of the foundation have made the “argument… that Koch imposes its values on universities, demanding excessive control on how grant money is dispersed.”

Nearly three years ago, a Saint A’s alumnus, Dennis Naughton, created a petition titled, “Stop Koch Brothers Propaganda.” In this petition, Naughton stated:

“As as alumnus of Saint Anselm College I was appalled to learn that the college is providing a forum for the Koch Brothers to spread their propaganda. The college is welcoming Koch Industries chief communication and marketing officer Steve Lombardo to present a program entitled “Beyond the Political Spin: How Koch is Driving Freedom Fairness and Prosperity.” Please help to stop Saint Anselm from helping the Kochs to mislead the American people for their own self-serving corporate interests.”

This forum was the talk led by Steve Lombardo, the Koch Industries Inc. chief communication and marketing officer at the time; the talk was titled, “Beyond the Political Spin: How Koch is Driving Freedom, Fairness, and Prosperity.” Protestors stood outside in opposition to what was coined as the “#KochProblem.”

The newest Koch involvement with the College, that being the recent grant, has yet to be announced campus-wide.