Thursday, June 13, 2019
Following up on my previous posts (links below): Wall Street Journal op-ed: An Abortion Red Herring in Alabama: The Real Story Behind Hugh Culverhouse’s Rejected Donation to the State Law School, by Steven J. Arango (J.D. 2019, Alabama)
When the University of Alabama decided to return a $21.5 million donation to investor Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. and remove his name from its law school, Mr. Culverhouse claimed it was retaliation for his speaking out against Alabama’s new abortion law. But the university’s decision had nothing to do with abortion.
Mr. Culverhouse made the gift last September, but it ended up being conditional. He demanded that the law school increase the size of its student body by as much as half. Alabama has consistently ranked among America’s top 30 law schools, in part because of its small enrollment (about 400 students) and its excellent student-to-faculty ratio (6.3 to 1). A larger enrollment likely would have meant lowering admission standards.
The law school was firm: It wouldn’t allow donors to dictate school policy—even the donor whose name graced the law school’s entrance. In response, Mr. Culverhouse demanded the school return $10 million of his donation. Publicly he claimed it was because of the school’s purported support of the abortion law. Then last week he issued a press release urging a boycott: “I don’t want anybody to go to that law school, especially women, until the state gets its act together.” ...
The decision to return Mr. Culverhouse’s money doesn’t hurt students; it protects them. One donor shouldn’t be able to hold a school hostage—or to hide his agenda behind abortion politics.
(Hat Tip: Steven Sholk.) Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- University Of Alabama Law School Receives $26.5 Million Naming Gift; Donor Hopes For Top 10-15 Ranking (Sept. 28, 2018)
- $26.5 Million Donor Completes Naming Gift Ahead Of Schedule Due To Alabama Law School's Rise In The U.S. News Rankings (Mar. 30, 2018)
- Alabama May Return $21.5 Million, Strip Donor's Name From Law School After His Call For Boycott Due To State's New Abortion Law (May 30, 2019)
- Alabama Returns $21.5 Million, Strips Donor's Name From Law School After His Call For Boycott Over State's New Abortion Law (June 8, 2019)
- Alabama Releases Emails Showing Donor Used Abortion Law As Preemptive Attack After Law School Decided To Return $21.5 Million Gift Due To His Meddling In Admissions, Scholarships, Faculty Hiring, Dean's Job Status (June 10, 2019)
- Krotoszynski: Sorry, Hugh Culverhouse. Alabama Law School Class Sizes Aren’t Your Call. (June 12, 2019)