The donor is not someone you want your school to be associated with
The University of Alabama made the right call in returning millions of dollars in donations to Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. The school has claimed that the rejection of the funds was not due to a recent controversy involving Culverhouse and abortion, but whatever the case, the decision was a good one.
Culverhouse had previously pledged a total of $26 million to the university. That was before the state legislature passed a far-reaching anti-abortion law. Culverhouse, who is apparently more devoted to the idea of killing unborn humans than he is to even a modicum of civic dignity, promptly called upon students to boycott the University of Alabama, claiming that women who attend school in that state would be “trapped” by its abortion law.
It is preposterous on its face—the idea that a woman’s successful collegiate career depends upon being able to have an abortion—but one supposes that, if one is committed-enough to the idea of abortion, it makes sense. In any event, the university elected to return Culverhouse’s donation after he made those comments. The school, however, has publicly stated that the rejection of the funds had nothing to do with Culverhouse’s inane call for a boycott and everything to do with Culverhouse’s meddling too much in school affairs. The university, to its credit, provided emails to back this up, indicating that Culverhouse was something of a demanding prima donna who was using his significant donation to force certain changes on campus.
Well, either way is fine. The school’s explanation is a plausible one—the emails show that officials were discussing the return of the funds several days prior to Culverhouse’s boycott announcement. Then again, maybe the call for a boycott was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In either case, the school should be happy to give the money back. A school does not want to be in the pocket of a man who believes he has a right to direct the school’s internal affairs; an institution should be even more reluctant to accept donations from a fellow who is openly trying to reduce a school’s enrollment. Good for the University of Alabama.
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