RSN Fundraising Banner
University of Alabama Returns Largest Donation in School History After Donor Criticized Abortion Ban
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=39065"><span class="small">Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Sunday, 09 June 2019 13:50

Varkiani writes: "The University of Alabama has returned a $21.5 million donation to a donor who spoke out for the need to protect access to abortion."

A protester wearing a Handmaid's Tale costume. (photo: Julie Bennett/Getty Images)
A protester wearing a Handmaid's Tale costume. (photo: Julie Bennett/Getty Images)


ALSO SEE: I Gave the University of Alabama $26.5 Million.
They Gave It Back When I Spoke Out About Abortion.

University of Alabama Returns Largest Donation in School History After Donor Criticized Abortion Ban

By Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, ThinkProgress

09 June 19


"It has been painful to witness administrators at the university choose zealotry over the well-being of its own students," the donor said.

he University of Alabama has returned a $21.5 million donation to a donor who spoke out for the need to protect access to abortion.

Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr., a real estate investor and lawyer who was born and raised in Alabama but now lives in Miami, urged students and businesses to boycott the state over its near total abortion ban.

On Friday, The University of Alabama System board of trustees voted to return the largest donation in the school’s history and remove Culverhouse’s name from the law school.

Alabama has enacted the strictest abortion law in the country, banning the procedure unless there is a “serious health risk” to the pregnant person. The law considers abortion a Class A felony, and doctors providing the procedure can be punished with up to 99 years in prison. (The law is set to take effect in November, but expected to be blocked in court before then.)

Last September, Culverhouse, whose father was owner of the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, committed to donating $26.5 million to the school over the next four years. The university then renamed its law school to Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law.

The school said Friday that it is returning the $21.5 million donated so far, but is rejecting that it has to do with politics.

As NPR reported, the school said Culverhouse had previously requested the return of $10 million and made demands about how his donation should be spent.

“The action taken by the Board today was a direct result of Mr. Culverhouse’s ongoing attempts to interfere in the operations of the Law School,” Kellee Reinhart, the university’s vice chancellor for communication, said in a statement Friday. “That was the only reason the Board voted to remove his name and return his money.”

Culverhouse said he had not asked for his donation back from the school in a statement on Friday.

When Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed the bill into law last month, Culverouse said he could not stand by and watch.

His attorney, Lawrence Kellogg, was quoted by Florida Politics as saying that a boycott could work. “Sixty-six percent of the students at Alabama pay out-of-state tuition,” he said. “A boycott by them could certainly be effective. Hugh also strongly believes that out-of-state and international businesses should not be doing business in a state that discriminates against women.”

In an op-ed for The Washington Post on Friday, Culverhouse said he was disappointed in the school’s decision and believed its actions were due to his position on abortion.

“It has been painful to witness administrators at the university choose zealotry over the well-being of its own students, but it’s another example of the damage this attack on abortion rights will do to Alabama,” he wrote. “The bill will not survive a court challenge, and likely will cost the state a great deal in court fees and other expenses that could be used to help its citizens. But for those who support it, that collateral damage doesn’t even merit a passing thought. Total victory must be achieved, even if it means running roughshod over people’s rights and harming students.”

Anti-choice activists and legislators throughout the country are pushing for extreme abortion bans in order to trigger legal challenges that could force the Supreme Court, with its new conservative majority, to reconsider it’s 1973 landmark decision in Roe v. Wade. 

State Rep. Terri Collins (R), who sponsored the Alabama bill, admitted as much when he explained why the law does not make exceptions for rape or incest.

“My point on keeping an amendment about rape or incest out of this bill is that Roe v. Wade does not mention that issue and I want this bill to focus on the reasoning used in the Roe v. Wade decision, ‘Is the baby in the womb a person?’ Any amendment would contradict that point.”

In 2019, nine states have passed bills limiting access to abortion.

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+6 # librarian1984 2019-06-10 05:26
Hmmm, I guess these states really don't want our money ...

Isn't Alabama the state that ousted all its illegal immigrants a few years ago, only to watch their crops rot in the fields? Aren't they the ones who tried so hard to knowingly put a paedophile in the Senate?

Between the unchristian evangelists and the rapacious corporations, what's an ethical secularist to do?

For one thing, if I lived in Alabama, I would leave. Then I'd consider putting up a wall.
 
 
+4 # DongiC 2019-06-10 06:52
Rich women will always get an abortion if desired. So it is the poor Alabaman woman who will suffer from this ban on abortions. Like in the Civil War, it was the poor whites who owned no slaves who suffered for the sake of their wealthy superiors. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
 
 
+2 # tedrey 2019-06-10 09:12
Alabama has the highest per capita death penalty rate in the country. However Alabama also has neglected to first pass a bill determining that convicted criminals are not persons. I think the legislators are thus legally leaving themselves open to murder charges.
 
 
0 # lfeuille 2019-06-10 17:19
Hmmmm. Maybe she should donate some of that money to NARAL instead. I pretty sure they would be more appreciative.