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"Covert Operations" on Campus

Inspired by Academy Event speaker Paul Loeb, who encouraged the student body never to be shy in voicing opinions, a group of students was motivated to take action.

A group of unnamed students printed 300-400 copies of Jane Mayer’s New Yorker article, “Covert Operations,” about David and Charles Koch’s funding of organizations fighting climate change regulations and many Obama Administration policies.

“Suppressing discussion is not the ideal of Deerfield Academy,” said a student involved in the distribution.

Along with the article the students posted a flyer they had found on Google stating, “Koch Industries Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine.”

They added black type on the bottom of the flyer asking “Is this worthy of our heritage?”

The students began distributing the papers at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, October 29, and worked for an hour posting the flyers in the Koch Center and on the glass doors of other buildings. The papers also covered dining hall tables along with the classroom tables of the Main School Building and Classroom Building. The students, who wished not to be identified, said they refrained from posting flyers on any painted walls.

Due to a school regulation, security began removing the papers displayed on the outside of school buildings from 6 to 7 a.m. A student leaving the Koch Center after posting the flyers asked a custodian why he was removing the flyers. The student said he received an unclear answer about whether or not security received an order to do so.

Security and Physical Plant arrived in the dining hall at 6:30 and began clearing the tables of the flyers. About half an hour after the students had spread the papers around campus, only a few remained.

Assistant Dean of Students, Jan Flaska explained the school’s policy, “It’s not written in our handbook, but posters on the outsides of buildings come down, while posters on the insides of buildings – and placed properly on bulletin boards – stay up.”

Another student who was involved, however, stated, “I put several copies of the article and flyer on bulletin boards throughout the campus. When I checked them later in the morning, they have also been removed.”

The Scroll did not contact Department of Safety and Security regarding this incident.