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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Faculty spending leans Democratic

Midterm elections are looming, and Dartmouth employees and affiliates have donated more than $66,000 to political campaigns in the 2013-14 election cycle. U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster ’78, D-N.H., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee were the largest recipients, each collecting $20,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, an organization dedicated to exposing money’s influence in Congress.

Of the around $66,000 donated, about $35,000 went to individual candidates, $30,000 to political parties and $1,200 to groups or individuals working independently of candidates and their committees.

Other top recipients include Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Suzanne Patrick, a Virginia Democrat running for the House of Representatives, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Shaughnessy Naughton, a Pennsylvania Democrat running for the House.

The Center for Responsive Politics notes on its website that the Dartmouth Medical School donations comprised $4,000 out of the total by Dartmouth employees and affiliates, and all went toward the Democratic Party.

Overall, 63 percent went to the Democratic candidates or committees, while 33 percent went to Republicans.

In the last 15 years, 73 percent of total professor donations went to Democrats and 12 percent to Republicans.

The Republican Party, however, receives about $250 more per donation than the Democratic Party.

Donations from academic bodies almost always support the Democratic Party, Center for Responsive Politics money-in-politics reporter Russ Choma wrote in an email.

“Most of the money from the [academic] sector has gone to Democrats, with the standouts being the money affiliated with for-profit education, which goes very distinctly to the right,” Choma wrote.

Donations from individuals in the academic field have increased over the years, in line with an overall increase, Choma noted.

College Democrats president Spencer Blair ’17 wrote in an email that he has no issue with professors donating, as long as it does not affect their teaching.

Government professor Linda Fowler agreed with Blair, saying that professors should allow students to make up their own minds when it comes to political beliefs.

“They don’t want to make students think that they should have to be careful about what they say in class or how they write their paper,” Fowler said.

Fowler said that she personally makes a large effort to show as little political bias as possible while teaching, noting that her students often end the term not knowing where she falls the political spectrum.

Another benefit to hiding ones political views from the general public is that when Fowler talks to reporters, she can say what she thinks as a political scientist and information will not be taken as her own political views.

Fowler also notes that there is a general reluctance among staff to share their political beliefs with the public, due to a fear of being labeled as “a Commie Pinko Liberal,” noting that academics have been targeted by right-leaning talk radio and political commentators.

Dartmouth policy prohibits the College as an institution from supporting candidates or political parties and has a set of guidelines surrounding political activity at the College.

Representatives of the College Libertarians declined to comment and representatives of the College Republicans did not respond to requests.

Blair is a member of The Dartmouth opinion staff.