Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, June 13, 2019

An Abortion Red Herring In Alabama: The Real Story Behind Hugh Culverhouse’s Rejected Donation To The State Law School

Alabama Logo (2019) (Crossed Out)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:

 

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/06/an-abortion-red-herring-in-alabama-the-real-story-behind-hugh-culverhouses-rejected-donation-to-the-.html

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Comments

"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."

Funny how this firestorm never kicked up when the Koch Foundation got control over some faculty hiring and review when they tossed $50 million at George Mason. Or how BB&T got control over some curriculum content (i.e. students MUST read Ayn Rand) when it made a large donation to UNC. Or...

Here's the crux for me: is the school losing money? Enrollment down, tuition discounting up, faculty headcount up as well. All the hallmarks of a law school in the red. And if - if - this public law school is losing money, is it even proper stewardship to give this lifesaving donation back, with Joe Taxpayers left to make up the difference?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 13, 2019 2:03:19 PM