The controversy over Alabama’s new abortion restrictions could have financial consequences for the state’s public university system.
The University of Alabama’s system chancellor this week called on the institution to return $ 21.5 million donated to its law school by Florida businessman Hugh Culverhouse, Jr.
Chancellor Finis St. John says he has recommended that the school board return Culverhouse’s donation – the largest gift ever made to the institution – due to an “ongoing dispute” that arose out of the fact that Culverhouse had made “many demands” on the university’s law enforcement. school, the school said in a statement.
“None of the issues between the law school and Mr. Culverhouse had anything to do with passing a law in which the University had no role,” the school system said in a statement. .
But the Chancellor’s recommendation to return the money came just hours after Culverhouse said students should avoid going to the university’s law school, which bears his name in 2018.
Culverhouse called for a boycott of the school due to the state’s new abortion law, the Tuscaloosa News first reported.
He called the new law “draconian”.
“I don’t want anybody to go into this law school, especially women, until the state pulls together,” Culverhouse said. told The Associated Press Wednesday. He was referring to state law passed earlier this month that makes it a crime for doctors to perform abortions.
The law, which has been applauded by anti-abortion activists, prohibits all abortions except when the mother’s life is at stake. Supporters hope the law will eventually lead the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe against Wade. “If your daughter is gang raped, that is not grounds for abortion,” Culverhouse told MarketWatch. “Incest is not a motive. If you take the Alabama statute that they just adopted and compare it to Saudi Arabia, you will find that Saudi Arabia is much more liberal. “
Culverhouse, whose father once owned the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a lawyer and real estate investor. He and his wife Eliza have donated nearly $ 40 million to the University of Alabama over the past decade, the Tuscaloosa News reported.
“My family has always believed in women’s rights,” Culverhouse Jr. told MarketWatch, adding that her father was a board member of Planned Parenthood in the 1950s.
He said he was going put your resources towards the ACLU’s legal fight against Alabama law.
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Culverhouse told MarketWatch he wanted companies like Google GOOG,
and Mercedes-Benz DAI,
to stop doing business in Alabama, and he wants University of Alabama students to follow suit by boycotting the school.
About 66% of university students come from outside Alabama, Says Culverhouse. It is one of many public schools that have turned to wealthy out-of-state students to ease budget constraints as state funding for public education has dwindled. (Google and Mercedes-Benz did not respond to requests for comment.)
The University of Alabama donation controversy is the latest financial spinoff from the abortion debate, which is once again gaining American attention as several states enacted strict restrictions on the procedure. Netflix NFLX,
and Disney DIS,
said they could stop production in Georgia due to new abortion restrictions adopted by that state.
Higher education is one of the favorite causes of the wealthiest philanthropists. According to a 2018 survey by research firm Wealth-X, two-thirds of billionaires devote a portion of their charitable giving to education-related causes.