BREAKING: Culverhouse School of Law name change confirmed


Joe Will Field

Groundskeepers remove Hugh F. Culverhouse, Jr. from UA law school sign.

Shahriyar Emami, Staff Reporter

After several claims of micromanagement and a recent call to boycott the University, the University of Alabama’s top donor will get his money back.

The UA Board of Trustees met on Friday, June 7 in the Bryant Conference Center to decide on matters regarding the Culverhouse School of Law. On September 1, 2018, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution that accepted $25 million from Hugh Culverhouse Jr. The gift, totaling $26.5 million, intended to establish the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law.

Near the end of the meeting, Board Chancellor Finis E. St. John, IV presented a statement that confirmed the Board would return the $21.5 million that Culverhouse Jr. paid.

“As you also know, the law school recovered a significant pledge last year,” St. John said in his statement. “Since that time, it has become clear that the donor’s expectations for the use and application of that gift have been inconsistent with the essential values of academic integrity and independent administration of the Law School and the University.”

Culverhouse’s donation is recorded as the largest financial gift to the University.

“Despite the diligent efforts and good faith of our Dean and President, there is no path forward consistent with those values,” St. John, IV said in his statement. “While we are grateful to all of our donors and supporters and very grateful to this donor and his family, donors do not dictate our administration of the University.”

While it was not mentioned during the meeting, the relationship is said to have become embittered due to Culverhouse’s call for boycotting Alabama’s recent abortion bill last week.

“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, Vice Chancellor for Communication said in a statement regarding the decision. “That was the only reason the Board voted to remove his name and return his money. Any attempt by Mr. Culverhouse to tie this action to any other issue is misleading and untrue.”

After the meeting, the Culverhouse name was removed from the law school’s sign by University’s groundskeepers. The name will be changed back to The University of Alabama School of Law.

“One last point,” St. John said. “We will learn from this and always remember that we cannot and will not compromise the values of academic integrity and independent administration at any price.”

Later that afternoon, UA President Stuart R. Bell responded to the Culverhouse decision in an email. According to Bell, the decision was made out of “academic and institutional integrity.”

“We value each and every donor, and it is unfortunate that an ongoing dispute led to this action,” Bell said in the email. “With your support, we will continue to raise the Capstone to even greater heights.”

The full resolution can be found here.

Matters discussed on June 6 involved the University System leaving in-state tuition unchanged. Out-of-state tuition rates will be raised 3-3.5%. On June 7, the board approved a new mail system and the addition of a new trustee, Evelyn VanSant Mauldin. Mauldin’s six-year term will begin in September of this year. The Crimson White will follow up on these changes in a forthcoming story.