University reviewing Uline contract after CEO funded PAC that supported the pre-attack rally


Yuri Gripas (Abaca Press/TNS)

Protestors outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. After learning Uline CEO Dick Uihlein funded a PAC that supported the rally ahead of Capitol invasion, an NU alum is calling for the University to end its contract with Uline.

Waverly Long, Assistant Campus Editor

The University is reviewing its contract with Uline and will make a decision on “how to best move forward” after connections surfaced between the company and the Capitol invasion, a University spokesperson told The Daily.

After seeing a WBEZ report that Uline CEO Dick Uihlein contributed over $4 million to the Tea Party Patriots, a conservative political action committee that supported the rally ahead of the U.S. Capitol invasion on Jan. 6, a Northwestern alum emailed administrators, calling on NU to end its contract with Uline.

“Northwestern competitively bids and negotiates agreements for the goods and services needed regularly by departments and schools on campus,” the University spokesperson said in a statement to The Daily. “We have a vendor screening process that we follow for each contract, and when we become aware of concerns about the social responsibility of companies we partner with, we review that information to determine what next steps may be warranted.”

Uihlein, a billionaire businessman from the Chicago area, is the single biggest donor to the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The PAC participated in the “March to Save America” rally that preceded the violent attack at the Capitol and was also part of the “Stop the Steal” coalition, according to WBEZ.

NU’s Procurement and Payment Services recently established a contract with the business supply company, which an NU alum was “disheartened” to discover while doing research on the company, the alum wrote in an email to University administrators and The Daily. 

“I can not in good faith give any donations to a University that will turn around and do business with anyone who supports domestic terrorism,” the email read. “I would imagine that many of your students and their parents would also not be happy about tuition dollars making their way to these organizations as well.”

The alum directly called upon the University to immediately end its contract with Uline. Furthermore, the alum urged NU to review its other third-party vendors and contracts and “make it clear to your business partners you will not do business with anyone who does not support the university’s values.”

The co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, heavily promoted the rally prior to the event. But in the aftermath, Martin told the Daily that neither she nor the Tea Party Patriots fund supported the violence at the Capitol. She added she was shocked and outraged at the turn of events that day.

This story was updated with additional comments from Jenny Beth Martin.

Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund supported the pro-Trump rally ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol invasion and not the invasion itself. 

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Twitter: @waverly_long

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