The current scandal involving the Culverhouse Law School at the University of Alabama and a Florida businessman, is a pointed reminder of how important it is for public officials to maintain the highest ethical profile.
If the news stories are correct, the UA administration and Board of Trustees made an arrangement with Tampa businessman and mega-donor, Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr., that led to the state’s law school being named for him. Culverhouse has donated millions of dollars to the school. Apparently, he also made some unspecified demands, one of which evidently involved the number of lawyers to be trained at the school.
Culverhouse has since soured on Alabama. He doesn’t like the state Legislature’s courageous stand on the abortion issue. In fact, it looks as if he doesn’t like the American legislative process, period. He has made threats against the state, saying he will use his money to discourage outside investment from coming into Alabama. In other words, he intends to harm a lot of innocent people by killing off their jobs.
Should the UA administration and Board of Trustees at Tuscaloosa be immediately fired for associating with this guy in the first place, or should they merely be put through a rigorous class in good ethical sense?
The state’s law school at Tuscaloosa ought to belong to ALL the state universities. The name “Culverhouse” should be dropped, and the school put under a separate board of trustees composed of the presidents of all the state universities in order to encourage good judgment in the future. The school should be renamed, “The State of Alabama School of Law”, or something similar, as a reflection of its inclusiveness of all state universities and students. Otherwise, we may one day end up with our law school being named for George Soros, or for anyone else who has money enough to buy it regardless of destructive motives or character.
Thomas L. Ponder