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U. Richmond School of Law’s Namesake Descendant Demands Return of $3.6 Billion Donations After ‘Woke’ Name Change

U. Richmond School of Law’s Namesake Descendant Demands Return of $3.6 Billion Donations After ‘Woke’ Name Change

“The university’s endowment is $ 3.3 billion. Since you and your activists went out of your way to discredit the Williams name, and since presumably the Williams family’s money is tainted, demonstrate your ‘virtue’ and give it all back.”

The University of Richmond School of Law used to be called the T.C. Williams School of Law, but woke activists at the school decided Williams’ name had to be stripped because he owned slaves.

The descendants of Williams responded by saying, fine, return all the cash our family has given to the school.

This is great.

FOX News reports:

Descendant of donor demands law school pay back $3.6 billion after ‘woke activists’ stripped school name

A descendant of a major donor to a law school demanded that the institution pay back $3.6 billion after a decision was made to change the school name.

Virginia lawyer Robert C. Smith is the great-great-grandson of T.C. Williams, the name behind the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law.

Williams was a wealthy 19th-century businessman who owned tobacco companies, a graduate, and trustee of the University of Richmond. William’s family donated $25,000 to fund the law school following his death.

However, despite Williams’s estate regularly donating to the university, the T.C. Williams School of Law was stripped of its name.

The University of Richmond School of Law voted to adopt a policy that prohibits the university from naming any building, program, professorship or entity “for a person who directly engaged in the trafficking and/or enslavement of others or openly advocated for the enslavement of people.”

The university had found that Williams was a slave owner.

Records show that William’s businesses were taxed on owning 25 to 40 enslaved people. The university said personal tax records for Williams show that he was taxed on owning three enslaved people.

Smith pushes back against the move to de-name the law school, claiming that the university is caving to “woke activists” and would not exist without the $3.6 billion amount of financial contribution from generations of Williams’ family members.

The letter that Smith sent to the school is worth reading in full, but the conclusion is the best part.

Via Real Clear Markets:

It is clear that woke activists at the University orchestrated a “Tony Soprano” hit on the Williams family. You won’t release any of the documents we have requested because it will expose this deceit. Radical Leftists hate people of accomplishment; they are jealous of them, and therefore they must be destroyed. The Williams family represents everything the Left hates; religious, upright, learned, accomplished and wealthy. The Law School was not named the T.C. Williams, Sr. Law School. If your board had any gratitude, it could have easily left well enough alone as certainly T.C. Williams, Jr. had no “connection to slavery.” Indeed, the 1934 Law School catalogue contains a full-page portrait of T.C. Williams, Jr. and lists him as its “chief benefactor.”

The university’s endowment is $ 3.3 billion. Since you and your activists went out of your way to discredit the Williams name, and since presumably the Williams family’s money is tainted, demonstrate your “virtue” and give it all back. I suggest you immediately turn over the entire $3.3 billion endowment to the current descendants of T.C. Williams, Sr. We will use it all to fulfill the charitable purposes to which it was intended. We will take a note back for the remaining $300 million, providing that it is secured by all the campus buildings and all your woke faculty pledge their personal assets and guarantee the note.

Give the money back.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know why any school has to change its name for this reason as long as Yale is still named for Elihu Yale. He played an active role in the slave trade but none of the woke activists at Yale are lobbying for a name change because they want to be able to say they went to Yale.

Featured image via YouTube.


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The Gentle Grizzly | February 17, 2023 at 9:49 am

Can they in fact force this issue? I certainly hope so.

    They can sue. Whether or not such a suit has any merit is beyond me, but they can sue and find out.

      Sounds to me like just 1 or 2 Williams of yore had anything to do with slavery. Their descendants did not, and where Williams is a family name applying to all of them who have continued to give, the latter generations would seem to have a case for slander or defamation. Or so I would hope.

Yale’s endowment fund is worth over $40 billion. They can actually withstand this in the worst case scenario. So it will take a LOT more woke to make them go broke.

    NotCoach in reply to NotCoach. | February 17, 2023 at 11:15 am

    This isn’t Yale, is it? I saw Yale at end of article and got confused. Richmond’s endowment is only $3.35 billion. Bankrupt them!

Perhaps nothing should be named after a man who blithely voted at a time when the law did not grant women the franchise.

Alas, I’m pretty sure the family will never get even one red penny from the school. Pity. I loved the part about “All your woke faculty pledge their personal assets.” People should have to put up or shut up.

I wonder why the wokesters think a name change makes acceptable what was built by oppression. It doesn’t change the history – it’s just whitewashing. About that, the old parable speaks to a house built on a faulty foundation – it affects the quality and stability of the entire house. The only real solution is to build new on a good foundation.

Choke the woke.

Ordinary folks will not see, and therefore not be aware of or believe, the kinds of contracts that are written to exercise a ‘gift’ to a university. When a very wealthy person donates 7 to 9 figures to a school, the contract that is written guides how the money is to be given, handled, and used. A lot of that is done to protect the donor, but a lot of it also protects the university.

And those contracts will protect U. of Richmond from having even to respond to the Williams family. The money was given and the contracts, written by the best lawyers a university can afford, will ensure that the money never is given back.

All the Williams family can do now is 1) stop giving and 2) shame the university. The former will work, the latter will not, since most universities these days (and I’m faculty at one) are well beyond shame.

They, these people that create problems befocause they have none, should be forced to meet the North Korean woman that escaped tyranny.

They care more about past slavery, dead and gone, than present slavery. Such serious human rights activists!

The whole issue about “slave holders” is specious. It is an old argument about how to view people from earlier eras. But it seems wrong to judge people who lived in periods with different standards of morality by today’s standards. They were creatures of their times. Today, the idea of one person owning another is almost incomprehensible but in prior eras it was an accepted part of the culture people lived in.

    gibbie in reply to Cicero. | February 17, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    And then there’s the fact that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

    Suburban Farm Guy in reply to Cicero. | February 18, 2023 at 8:39 am

    It combines the mindless rage of a mob with highly privileged, self-anointed virtue and the power of extremely well-funded, well-heeled, time-honored bureaucratic institutions. They must be getting quite the charge out of exercising their righteousness.

    It’s actually worse than just mindless. It denies historical reality and replaces it with the madness of crowds, the fads and fashions that change constantly. Sets humanity adrift, without a rudder or a star to steer by. Or even the knowledge of how to do that…

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
— Newton’s Third Law of Motion

I highly recommend reading the whole letter. Very interesting family history. Makes a very strong cases the U Richmond itself, let alone the law school, would not exist today were it not for this family.

Side note, UR is an absolutely stunning campus. The architecture is magnificent and if you ever visit makes sure it is in the Spring… the landscaping, trees and flowers are as beautiful as you will see anywhere.

    “UR is an absolutely stunning campus.”

    That’s because the appearance of a campus plays a very large part in many people’s decision about which university to attend. This happens without their conscious awareness.

    Pick a university by what is taught there, rather than how it looks.

    It truly is!

You can’t “win” working the system against people all about working the system. You can expose how that system works to people who otherwise ignore it. You can even expose how the system has been refined over time — “rigged”, even — to benefit the people in it.

Play it out, get the press, file the briefs. Maybe this is how it works. With systems we have created — universities, election law, immigration law, torts, electronic media — we do get to ask whether this is how we want them to act.

The value of these donors challenging their parasites isn’t that they’ll win the one first time, but that the BS can be challenged. They’ve already won.

    CommoChief in reply to BierceAmbrose. | February 17, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Or revisit the Soprano’s angle much more sincerely….’nice car, home, kid, spouse you got be a shame if…’. Bullies tend not to be very courageous and confronting them in ways the bullies understand and respond to is more effective. /S ?

      BierceAmbrose in reply to CommoChief. | February 18, 2023 at 4:01 pm

      /S ?

      I, myself am reluctantly Ok with a last resort of responding in kind. They want less extortionate lawfare, maybe do less extortionate lawfare.

      /Kidding, of course.
      We know all this Operation of The Apparatus is on the up and up. Like with those gas stoves nobody’s coming after. Oops there’s this letter from Congresskritters. Oops the one guy got caught. Oops, the other guy who picked up the mission on the D-L got caught, too. But there’s no coordination. Oops, but there’s a letter from The White House before any of this broke news.

      I sincerely believe there’s no intentional extortionate lawfare to enact policy by other means. Against the disaffected, who can’t push back. Because that never happens.

      /S ?
      My response is every bit as honest as those conspiracy theory machinations.

The value of a lawsuit here is similar to Oberlin. If it moves forward, don’t settle. keep them going until you get to discovery and then the real fun starts.

    Henry P in reply to MajorWood. | February 18, 2023 at 9:28 am

    The anger of the Williams family is perfectly understandable, and this situation shows the risks and folly of donating to colleges and universities. They need to be defunded, not the police. Much the same happens when wealthy patrons create lucrative foundations that get highjacked by the left as we see with the Ford Foundation or the MacArthur Foundation. Sad to say, this case against U of R has nothing in common with the Oberlin case, and has virtually no chance of success through litigation. Only the attorneys will prosper.

Last year Alexandria, Virginia changed the name of its only high school from T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School.

Suburban Farm Guy | February 18, 2023 at 7:53 am

Of course they don’t get the money back. It has been tossed down the bottomless pit marked ‘Reparations.’

Its doubtful that there are provisions in the document which provided for the donations to the school that included stipulations to return the money in this type situation for violations of the use of the funds, at least not in these circumstances. While I agree that a return of the money is certainly justified, I am simply stating that the donation document most likely lacks such a clawback provision.

On the other hand, many land donations will have stipulations in the deed that the land will be return to the heirs if the land use changes – such as ceasing using the land as a park or some other restriction. Those type restrictions / clawbacks are not common in cash donations / endowments.

I would be curious if such a provision was in the documents.