Hugh Culverhouse calls for boycott of University of Alabama
Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. Photo courtesy University of Alabama

Hugh_Culverhouse
Florida businessman has donated more to UA than anyone in history.

The largest individual donor to the University of Alabama wants prospective students boycotting the school.

Florida businessman Hugh Culverhouse Jr. wants businesses and individuals boycotting state institutions over a new law banning nearly all abortions.

The move comes less than a year after Culverhouse donated $26.5 million to UA’s law school. The university welcomed the gift by renaming the school the Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law.

But that came before the Alabama Legislature passed a statute Culverhouse considers blatantly illegal.

“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.

“The discrimination against women embodied by the law could easily be extended to other Federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution decisions, which is a dangerous situation not only in Alabama but in other states contemplating similar unconstitutional laws.”

Notably, Florida lawmakers this year introduced potential restrictions on abortion that ultimately did not pass.

State Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, and state Rep. Mike Hill, a Pensacola Republican, filed a heartbeat bill outlawing abortions six weeks into a pregnancy.

State Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, and state Reps. Tommy Gregory, a Sarasota Republican, and Erin Grall, a Vero Beach Republican, filed pain capable bills. Those would have restricted abortions around 20 weeks.

Culverhouse, a significant political donor to candidates in Southwest and South Florida, wants the boycott to continue until Alabama’s abortion law gets repealed. Gov. Kay Ivey already signed the law, which takes effect in 2020.

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“Hugh feels that students, especially women students, should think twice about enrolling in the University of Alabama until the Alabama Legislature and its Governor come to their senses or the statute is declared unconstitutional,” said Lawrence Kellogg, Culverhouse’s attorney.

“Sixty-six percent of the students at Alabama pay out-of-state tuition. A boycott by them could certainly be effective. Hugh also strongly believes that out-of-state and international businesses should not be doing business in a state that discriminates against women.”

As his boycott continues, Culverhouse will turn his donating power to support the ACLU to help fund a successful legal challenge of the law.

The Miami lawyer suggested there’s an easy case to make beyond simply citing the precedent of Roe v. Wade.

“Why does Alabama focus on women, and not men?” he said. “Why are doctors who perform abortions subject to criminal penalties, while doctors who conduct vasectomies are not? How about doctors who perform hysterectomies; is that the next medical procedure to be criminalized?

“What about contraception? Will the Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) decision declaring contraception bans to be unconstitutional become the next decision to be ignored?”

Culverhouse and his wife, Eliza, have given tremendously to the school. That includes a $6.5-million endowment to the business school, $2.5-million donation to the women’s golf team and $500,000 to the university ballet.

Culverhouse’s parents, Hugh Sr. and Joy, both attended UA on sports scholarships and later became major donors. Hugh Sr. later became a longtime owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The UA school of business still bears his name.

“My father was an officer of Planned Parenthood in Jacksonville, Florida, during the 1950s,” Culverhouse said. “This is a civil rights issue that has been important to my family for many years.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


26 comments

  • Larry Gillis

    May 29, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Your article is incomplete.

    Please list all of the businesses owned or invested in by Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. Interested persons may want to consider boycotting his businesses as a way of making their own political statement.

    Thank you.

    • Matt

      May 29, 2019 at 5:16 pm

      So, if Alabama had banned abortions – except in cases of incest – would any abortions have been banned at all?

      • Larry Morrison

        May 29, 2019 at 6:19 pm

        Hugh has every right to his own opinion. So does EVERY other human alive. To imply that his is the CORRECT opinion is really interesting. To FORCE his opinion on others is his right because of free speech. To reject his position is our right, including a state legislature, according to the U. S. Constitution and the Alabama State Constitution.
        It seems more people in 2019 believe in the right to life than we have witnessed in decades. Even our laws provide the precedent to the right to life-unborn killed when Mom is murdered is considered a double homicide; my will, since updated, provided for my “unborn children;” and massive sperm/egg donor banks exists to provide for future children.
        People seem to have everything under control without Hugh-except our need to impregnate a woman without planning. The time for the decision is before, not after conception. The child has the right to life-innocent, without guilt. The mom and dad are the guilty ones; they failed to plan. I notice every pro-choice supporter has already been born. I suppose they are pro-life as far as their life is concerned.
        I am pro-USA. We spent almost 200 years with the right to life. The 46 years since Roe vs. Wade have resulted in over 100 million deaths. The USA stands for human rights, except for the most innocent of humans, the unborn. We need to rerun to the basics of life-responsibility.

        • Alice Flatt

          June 8, 2019 at 2:04 am

          Anyone that wants an abortion should have to watch a video of what exactly happens during the murder. Planned Parenthood never shows the woman the entire truth; that it is a baby and not a blob of tissue. If Hugh thinks it to be a blob of tissue then why are divorcing couples fighting over frozen embryos? Why doesn’t he witness the procedure so he can form a more objective opinion of what is really removed!
          People have a choice about having sex without birth control protection. In this day and time there is no reason to use abortion as a form of birth control when all kinds of protection is out there. If people choose to act like alley cats then get yourself fixed like one.
          We should all ask ourselves why animals have more rights under the law than a human baby? Mistreat an animal and you face fines and possible jail time; but no action taken when you kill a baby! Why not abort all the animals in utero and then we wouldn’t have to spend money on animal shelters. It’s not murder: it’s the removal of blobs of tissue!
          Shame on America when animal life means more than human!!

      • gary

        June 11, 2019 at 2:12 pm

        Matt: In your case it should have been a priority!

    • Scott

      May 29, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      So it makes no sense to single out one of the 20 plus public universities in the state for a boycott if he’s all that hot and bothered by it. UA had nothing to do with this crazy law nor did any of the other schools. In fact the people in Alabama didn’t even get to vote on it. UA is not the school it was in the 60’s when the South was segregated. This is 2019. It is full of liberal professors just like most other large public universities. They don’t support that law the state legislature passed. If he wants to single out a school, his rival school up in Auburn was once ranked the 7th most conservative college in the country. So I’m sure that’s where they get their Roy Moore voters. He could pick on them. After all, that’s where the idiot puppet governor graduated from.

      • Jeff Sutton

        May 30, 2019 at 9:34 am

        The article concentrates on UA but he called for the boycott on all state schools and on spending money in the state at all.

        • Scott

          May 31, 2019 at 1:13 am

          Old Hugh doesn’t care about Women’s rights. Quit being naive people. And by the way, nobody knows this jackass outside of West Florida and the Alabama Alumni Association so his boycott will fall on deaf ears.

          The real story isn’t told in this article. It came out that Hugh made this big announcement about being mad after the University told him that he couldn’t use his donations to influence and control the administration of the law school. They were in a dispute. Auburn had a long time donor named Bobby Lowder of the failed Colonial Bank who they let weild undue influence over them. It takes away academic integrity and objectivity to let someone do that. So Hugh made up this nonsense in order to sound righteous after getting told they didn’t need his money. He wants to sound “Woke”. UA stripped his name off the Law School today and sent his money back.

          Furthermore, the ridiculous comment he made that he “couldn’t support a law school that teaches its students to violate the constitution” is an outlandish lie. They do no such thing and he knows that. That law school is full of very liberal law professors like almost all universities. I know a lot of their graduates. Not a single one of them came out of there a Conservative. It’s ranked one of the top 25 law schools in the nation among all public and private universities. That’s pretty damn prestigious and they do not teach their students to go off and act like a bunch of half wit moron politicians like the ones in Montgomery who passed that bill.

          That law has no teeth and is not enforceable. If any dr is arrested under it the case will be thrown out once it is moved up to federal courts under appeal. Such a big fuss when a couple of more states piled onto this anti-abortion legislation this week. How many states is that now in total doing this? 5, 6 or is at 7 and counting. It’ll be 20,30, or more before all is said and done. Is everyone going to call for a boycott of all of these states and all their schools? If so all you’ll have left is the expensive of East and West Coast stars to business with. Gotta go to school there and avoid buying things that come from those boycott states. Good luck with that.
          People better be careful when getting self righteous about these causes they believe in and use some common sense. If a boycott were to work and cause some kind of harm think about who all it hurts. Will it hurt those Republican legislators and The Governor Kay Ivey who made it the law? No it will not. They’ll just keep on stealing money legally in Alabama (it’s what they do there) and being the racists they are. Defunding Medicaid and CHIPS, making voter registration difficult, etc and you guys just want to hurt Alabama anyway you can. The people that get hurt from things like boycotts are the poor people on the bottom. They lose jobs or have their hours cut at work, etc. And a lot of those people didn’t vote for any of those politicians. The media treats Alabama as if every citizen voted for all of the bad people. Well they didn’t. And they also didn’t get the option to vote on this law or most others those jerks pass. Think about it.

      • Michael

        June 4, 2019 at 1:55 pm

        The people of Alabama did get to vote on it, they voted to put their Reps in office. Elections have consequences.

  • Michelle

    May 29, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I’m a student at the University of Alabama. How does him hurting the University & our funding make sense? If you’re against a law in the state fine, but the school didn’t write or sign it. Shame on you for using your $ to force a University that stays out of politics to agree with you. And supporting the ACLU now? A raging anti semetic group who hides behind the guise of equality? Nice choice

    • Anita

      May 29, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Well said Michelle!!!!!👍🏻

    • Jan

      May 29, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      My daughter is an out of state student, who received a full merit scholarship to UAB (bio-chemistry major) and now also has a full (merit) scholarship to the UAB Law School. She was raised in a household that values life, and also values freedom of choice. Pro Life means pro life on all levels – maternal health, (including contraception options), early childhood education, affordable housing, personal safety. For those ranting about “irresponsible” conception, the reason the abortion rate is so historically low today is not due to a religious conversion of young women, but simply a reflection of the fact that more young women have easy access to affordable contraception. Want to eliminate abortion? Give all teenage boys vasectomies at the age of 14. (Reversible, once they can prove they are responsible and capable of supporting children). One reason my daughter is returning to campus is so she can continue to tutor impoverished local Tuscaloosa school children. Michelle I hope you are also spending time reaching out to the local community, as the wealth gap in the area is incredibly high, and the need is great. Instead of casting insults we should be looking at the “why” and working together toward a solution that makes sense and benefits everyone, particularly women, who are most affected by these laws. Very sad comments. We as a nation should be ashamed of ourselves.

      • Scott

        June 7, 2019 at 11:06 pm

        UAB (Birmingham) doesn’t have a law school. UA (Tuscaloosa main campus) has the law school. Perhaps you misspoke.

      • Marie

        June 9, 2019 at 7:48 am

        Affordable contraception! Responsible males too! Women carry the burden women should make their own choices. End of story.

  • JT

    May 29, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    This statement by Hugh Jr. at the end of the article jumped out at me:
    “My father was an officer of Planned Parenthood in Jacksonville, Florida during the 1950s,” Culverhouse said. “This is a civil rights issue that has been important to my family for many years.”
    Hugh Sr. was an incredible racist during his lifetime. Just ask Doug Williams, Bo Jackson, or any of the other black athletes who had the misfortune to have business dealings with the Buccaneers during Hugh Sr.’s tenure as the team’s owner. Their treatment by this supposed champion of civil rights was shameful.

    Additionally, Hugh Sr. also tried to weasel his wife of 51 years, Joy Culverhouse, out of his estimated $350+ million estate at the time of his death after years of her putting up with his philandering and extra-marital affairs. Her ire was summed up by this quote after he kicked the bucket, “I’d like to pull him out of the grave and shoot him with every bullet I could get.”

    The subsequent and protracted legal battle Joy had to wage to receive what was rightfully hers, eventually set off another family squabble with her daughter, Gay, and son, Hugh Jr., that was so bitter she declared in her own will that neither of her children would benefit from her estate at the time of her death.

    This sparked yet ANOTHER legal fight waged by Gay and Hugh Jr. against Gay’s own son, Christopher, who was his grandmother’s attorney at the time of her death. They accused him of taking financial advantage of the 96-year-old Joy. During that legal fight, this supposed champion of women’s rights, Hugh Jr., and his sister allowed their mother’s remains to sit in a Tampa Bay-area funeral home for an extended period before finally cremating the poor woman.

    So, before praising Hugh Jr. for his wokeness, consider the above brief history of how he’s treated women and how his father “supported” civil rights issues.

    • ABT

      June 7, 2019 at 10:32 pm

      Well said, JT. People should do more research on both Culversons (Sr. & Jr.) to learn just what their family really stood for. Hugh, Jr. thought his money gave him clout at UA Law School. Good for the University of Alabama for having some integrity. The abortion law passed in Alabama is just a cover story because he’s butt hurt that he doesn’t get to call the shots.

  • TK

    May 30, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you so much, Hugh, for standing up for women’s rights!! That must’ve been so hard to do, considering that you’ve obviously been such a strong supporter of UA for so many years. For the record, and as a woman, I appreciate you so much! Sometimes the only way to create change is by either donating or withholding money. This sends a very big message! We need more people like you to stand up & speak out.

  • Buddy

    June 2, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Just like their old team…Losers…

  • Thomas Bryan

    June 6, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    They want to save the fetus but starve the children,cutting good stamps and healthcare,republicans are only on this issue because every obvious slackjawed hillbilly are onboard.Women,children deserve better.Stay classy Alabama.

    • gary

      June 11, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Hugh found out that 21.5 million could not buy dead babies!

  • Lorraine Ziegler

    June 8, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Abortion is murder. Plain and simple logic. Hugh is for murder of babies, who cares about his money. I say good riddance. Hugh does not speak for all women. I am a woman and am against abortion. What a heinous crime against children, the worst form of child abuse. Go Alabama!!!! Kudos to that strong state for standing up for children and women.

  • Vincent Dematrio

    June 9, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Maybe Planned Parenthood will name an abortion clinic after this douchebag. They can pick up the free signage next to the curb in Tuscaloosa.

  • gary

    June 11, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Hugh found out that 21.4 million could not buy dead babies!

Comments are closed.


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