CUNY and its faculty are constantly crying poverty, but some money is simply no good to them.
The president of John Jay College said the school will not solicit donations from groups associated with the billionaire Koch brothers because of campus opposition to taking money from the conservative activists, sources told The Post.
The movement has given rise to a group of 20 faculty members across all disciplines calling itself the Koch Concerns Coalition.
Cash flowing into college campuses from GOP-backing moguls Charles and David Koch has riled up left-leaning academia for years. Ironically, the brothers in 2015 launched a campaign for a cause near and dear to liberal hearts — criminal-justice reform.
Koch Industries, the conglomerate headed by the Koch brothers, was a sponsor of October’s “Smart on Crime” conference at John Jay along with groups including the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.
Mark Holden, the Koch Industries general counsel, gave a keynote address he opened by referring to John Jay President Karol Mason as his friend and saying the current criminal-justice system “traps people in hopelessness.”
A John Jay spokeswoman would not give The Post an accounting of the Koch money that has come in during the last five years but said, “No funder will ever have the ability to influence or restrict the exercise of academic freedom and independent inquiry at John Jay.”
The money is substantial. A John Jay pamphlet thanking the college’s 2016 donors included the Charles Koch Foundation, listed as giving between $50,000 and $100,000, and the nonprofit Charles Koch Institute, which contributed between $10,000 and $25,000.
And at least one John Jay professor has received a Koch-funded research grant. Psychology professor Deryn Strange got $49,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation for a study involving police body cameras. Strange did not return a request for comment. The Charles Koch Foundation did not respond to a request for comment about its giving.
In a December meeting with the anti-Koch faculty members, President Mason said she wouldn’t put the Koch solicitation ban in writing lest she scare off other donors with what could be perceived as the school’s undue scrutiny of their cash, sources said.
And Mason said she would not hinder individual professors from accepting Koch grants.
Some CUNY faculty members blasted the anti-Koch faction for putting politics before the needs of students at the…