Paul L. Caron
Dean





Thursday, May 30, 2019

Alabama Donor Doesn't Want His $21 Million Back; He Wants Law School To Increase Enrollment And 'Tell U.S. News, F*** You.’

Alabama Logo (2018)Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Law.com, Culverhouse's Rift with Law School—Fomented by Abortion Law—Puts $27M Gift in Peril

The University of Alabama is poised to return more than $21 million given to the law school after a dispute seemingly touched off by the state’s new abortion law—a move that would strip the name Hugh Culverhouse from its law school. ...

Culverhouse on Wednesday called for students to boycott the University of Alabama in a bid to pressure state lawmakers to roll back the law, which bans abortion. But university officials responded that tensions between the law school and its namesake donor predate the abortion law and that they would not stand for donor meddling.

Culverhouse said in an interview Thursday that he has pushed law school dean Mark Brandon to increase the size of the student body and offer more scholarships to bring in students, but that the school has instead opted to maintain it class size in a bid to preserve its U.S. News & World Report ranking. (The school is currently ranked No. 25, up two spots from the previous year.) ...

University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John on Tuesday sent a memo to the board of trustees recommending the return of Culverhouse’s entire donation and restoring the law school’s previous name: The University of Alabama School of Law. ...

Culverhouse said he was befuddled by St. John’s recommendation to return his donation and that attributing the move to earlier disputes is a red herring. “I don’t know why they came back and said, ‘We’re going to send this money back, but it has nothing to do with his stand on abortion’, ” Culverhouse said. “Bullshit.”

“I don’t know who or what has put a bug up the ass of the law school,” Culverhouse said. “It’s the rest of the campus where I’m saying, ‘If you are out of state and a have a daughter, think long and hard before you send her to Alabama. ...

But Culverhouse acknowledged existing tensions with Brandon centered on the number of students at the law school. ... Culverhouse said he would like the school to return to a student body of about 500 students, which has dwindled to 381 over the past eight years. But the school is resisting that expansion in order to maintain its U.S. News rank, he contends. ...

Culverhouse made his aspiration for a larger law school clear in a speech he delivered last fall when the school was officially renamed. He said he initially believed Brandon was working toward expanding the school’s enrollment but now thinks otherwise. ...

Culverhouse said Thursday that he doesn’t want his money back. ... “I want the university to be one of the best universities, but we’re going to do it the right goddamn way and compete with other people by doing the same thing every other law school does,” he said, noting that prominent public law schools including the University of Georgia School of Law and the University of Florida Levin College of Law have nearly twice and triple the number of students, respectively. “You’ll have a full boat of students and you’re going to teach them and tell U.S. News, ‘Fuck you.’ What’s wrong with that? You’re a state school. You need lawyers. And you need to teach them. 381 isn’t going to do it.”

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/05/alabama-donor-doesnt-want-his-21-million-back-he-wants-law-school-to-increase-enrollment-and-tell-us.html

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