Top University of Alabama donor tells students to boycott

Photo: University of Alabama

One of the University of Alabama's top donors said Wednesday that students should boycott enrolling at the school to protest the state's newly approved abortion ban.

Posted: May 29, 2019 6:58 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — One of the University of Alabama's top donors said Wednesday that students should boycott enrolling at the school to protest the state's newly approved abortion ban.

Hugh Culverhouse Jr., a Florida businessman who has donated more than $30 million to the university, said he doesn't want students who attend the school to become "trapped" under what he calls a morally and constitutionally wrong law.

"I don't want anybody to go to that law school, especially women, until the state gets its act together," Culverhouse said in an interview. "You probably shouldn't put a living person's name on a building, because at some point they might get fed up and start talking."

The university renamed its law school in Culverhouse's honor in September after he made a record-setting donation, but that gift is in limbo as part of an ongoing dispute between Culverhouse and the university about how the funds have been used.

The university issued a news release Wednesday evening saying that Culverhouse asked for the return of $10 million last week after "repeating numerous demands about the operations" of the law school. On Tuesday, university Chancellor Finis E. St. John IV recommended to the Board of Trustees that Culverhouse's $21.5 million donation be returned and the school's original name be restored. The board will vote next week.

The university said none of the issues between the law school and Culverhouse involved the abortion legislation. Culverhouse called for the boycott in a press release Wednesday without notifying university officials.

The legislation signed by Gov. Kay Ivey on May 15 would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison for the provider. The law makes no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk.

In a statement responding to Culverhouse, Ivey said, "Alabama is open for business, and our deep commitment to advancing economic opportunities for Alabamians will continue to remain a top priority for our state."

Emboldened by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama is part of a wave of conservative states seeking to mount new legal challenges to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood asked a federal judge to block Alabama's legislation in a lawsuit filed Friday. The law is set to take effect in November unless blocked by a judge.

Culverhouse, who was born in Montgomery, also called on businesses like Mercedes-Benz and Google to avoid doing business in the state. He said any company that chooses to continue its business should be boycotted by consumers.

"To the state of Alabama: You need to be punished until you wake up and do the right thing," he said.

Culverhouse's parents both attended Alabama and were prominent donors to the university. The business school is named after Culverhouse's father, who was the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team and, according to Culverhouse, was on the board of the Planned Parenthood in Jacksonville, Florida, in the 1950s.

Culverhouse said he stepped up donations to the ACLU and, depending on the response to this boycott, will consider donating to Alabama politicians opposed to the abortion legislation during the next election cycle.

"When you say sweet home Alabama, you can kiss my ass," Culverhouse said. "There isn't anything sweet about it until this absolute abomination is done with."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 291891

Reported Deaths: 6605
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19470226
Hinds18555383
Harrison16385273
Rankin12498260
Jackson12401216
Lee9635160
Madison9353193
Jones7836144
Forrest7055135
Lauderdale6735225
Lowndes5989137
Lamar579379
Lafayette5688113
Washington5124128
Bolivar4567120
Oktibbeha438091
Panola424092
Warren4091113
Pearl River4070127
Pontotoc406066
Marshall397992
Monroe3971125
Union391372
Neshoba3746166
Lincoln343799
Hancock337773
Leflore3346118
Sunflower315785
Tate299172
Pike297792
Scott291367
Alcorn289760
Itawamba288471
Yazoo282662
Tippah275265
Copiah273357
Coahoma272265
Simpson269278
Prentiss267158
Leake250870
Wayne250140
Marion249478
Covington246277
Grenada244576
Adams232374
George229545
Newton222551
Winston220174
Tishomingo210965
Jasper210343
Attala205669
Chickasaw200250
Holmes181470
Clay177348
Stone170729
Tallahatchie169039
Clarke167671
Calhoun155327
Smith151131
Yalobusha141936
Greene126333
Walthall123040
Noxubee122429
Montgomery120537
Perry120133
Lawrence118420
Carroll117123
Amite110632
Webster108629
Jefferson Davis99831
Tunica97923
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91226
Kemper89222
Quitman76614
Franklin75319
Choctaw69316
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson60827
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 488973

Reported Deaths: 9660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson703321342
Mobile35725716
Madison32088437
Tuscaloosa23913404
Montgomery22369481
Shelby21714209
Baldwin19554263
Lee14827147
Morgan13529243
Etowah13091309
Calhoun13063281
Marshall11197202
Houston10019255
Limestone9303130
Elmore9283179
Cullman8856176
St. Clair8747214
Lauderdale8541209
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7424161
Walker6466240
Jackson6450101
Autauga614384
Blount6058125
Colbert5973118
Coffee522299
Dale4606106
Russell400530
Franklin396575
Covington3918105
Chilton380096
Escambia375970
Tallapoosa3533138
Clarke342348
Dallas3385139
Chambers3382102
Pike292471
Lawrence280685
Marion277492
Winston244563
Marengo243454
Bibb243259
Geneva238168
Pickens223453
Barbour208450
Hale208064
Fayette198755
Butler194865
Henry181741
Cherokee175737
Monroe165538
Randolph161240
Washington155832
Crenshaw143052
Clay142554
Macon140344
Cleburne136139
Lamar130632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120525
Bullock116033
Conecuh106423
Perry104927
Sumter98231
Greene86732
Coosa86323
Choctaw54723
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