Breaking: University of Alabama Returns $21.5 Million to Donor Who called for School Boycott Over Anti-Abortion Law

University of Alabama employees remove the name of Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. off its law school’s sign in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday, after the board of trustees voted to return $21.5 million to longtime donor Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr.
Blake Paterson/AP

The University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees has decided to return a $21.5 million gift from Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. — the school’s biggest donor — and take his name off of its law school. The move comes after a dispute in which Culverhouse urged that a boycott of Alabama over its new abortion law should include the university.

The school says it the transfer of the $21.5 million was processed Friday morning.

Culverhouse, a Florida lawyer and investor whose father was the longtime owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made the largest donation in the school’s 187-year history last September, in a gift that totaled $26.5 million. 

But months after that donation was announced, Culverhouse joined those calling for a boycott of Alabama over its new and restrictive abortion law, which outlaws most abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, and does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

“I cannot stand by silently and allow my name to be associated with a state educational system that teaches students law that clearly conflicts with the United States Constitution and Federal law, and which promotes blatant discrimination,” Culverhouse said in late May, in a statement provided to media outlets in Alabama.

While the university has acknowledged an “ongoing dispute” with Culverhouse, it insists that the decision about his donation is related only to concerns about matters at the school, not at the statehouse.

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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Bill Chappell and originally published at NPR. Title changed by P&P.]

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