Keene State College Residential Life has confirmed that the entering of residence halls from the group NextGen Climate was not authorized.
The group, which is notable for pressuring students to fill out their request for information sheets and telling them to vote, was reportedly entering residence halls, putting pamphlets under doors and asking students if they could go into their dorms, during the days before the election.
Michael Pulju, the assistant director of Residential Life and Housing, said that the group had asked for permission to do this from Residential Life beforehand, “and were told no.”
“We’re not entirely sure if they were all students,” Pulju said.
NextGen Climate is a 501(c)(4) organization started in 2013, whose goals have been “supporting candidates, elected officials and policymakers across the country that will take bold action on climate change — and to exposing those who deny reality and cater to special interests,” as stated on their website, nextgenclimate.org.
The political action committee was started by Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager of Farallon Capital Management, which the New York Times claimed heavily invested in “coal mines and coal-fired power plants.”
The Washington Post wrote that Steyer spent a “$70 million investment” on NextGen Climate during the campaign, of which, “two thirds of the money his organization spent went to support losing candidates.”
The Equinox attempted to contact multiple members of the group that were around campus, but were refused comment.
Pete Kavanaugh, the New Hampshire state director of NextGen Climate, said that the group has a “huge priority on campus, organizing with a huge staff.”
The campus groups, which Kavanaugh said were made up of “full-time paid staff and volunteers,” have many ways of getting students’ attentions, including “knocking on dorm doors.”
When asked about the recent incident at KSC, Kavanaugh denied knowledge of the event.
“I was unaware of this issue,” he explained, “We have students and volunteers that are passionate and want to tell their peers about the organization.”
Olivia Miller, a first-year at KSC, didn’t have a problem with the group.
“They’re just doing their job,” Miller said, “As long as I politely declined their offers, they wouldn’t bother me.”
Miller also mentioned that while shuttling students to the polls, NextGen Climate never asked students about their voting choices.
However, Brendan Hoar, another first-year student at KSC, felt somewhat bothered by the way the group was acting.
“I understand that voting is important; however, we have the choice to vote,” he said, “I’ve been asked multiple times about voting and have been sent numerous emails by them. They make voting feel very forced.”
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