The University of Richmond is one of the best colleges in Virginia. Thousands of graduates have gone through its law school and gotten a respected degree from it.
Though in 2022, the university decided the name of the law school would be changed from the TC Williams School of Law to simply the University of Richmond School of Law.
The decision came along with changing the names of six important campus locations named after historical donors and individuals who owned slaves or who held views supporting the segregation of black and white Americans.
Now, a lawyer who’s a descendant of TC Williams is suing the law school for $3.6 billion, saying the whole institution wouldn’t exist without his great-great-grandfather’s handsome donation several hundred years ago.
Pay Back My Family’s Money – With Interest!
Robert Smith’s great-great-grandfather TC Williams gave $25,000 to help funding of the University of Richmond’s law school. He left the money in his will and it went to the faculty after he died.
Now, Smith is demanding that money come back to his family with interest and is demanding $3.6 billion in damages for the school stripping his relative’s name from its law school.
Williams was a rich tobacco farmer who graduated from the University of Richmond and was involved in funding and helping on its board of trustees as well.
However, in his businesses, Williams was also found to have at least 25 and up to 40 black slaves. He personally owned at least three slaves according to his income tax returns.
His name was removed from the law school, due to the school removing the names of any people who supported or practiced trafficking or enslavement of people, regardless of their status in the university’s history.
The move came following on-campus protests at the university.
T.C. Williams Law School was changed to University of Richmond School of Law last year, but local lawyer Robert C. Smith, a descendant of Williams, is now asking the school to pay back his family now that the name has been changed. https://t.co/i5i5WgBK3l
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 14, 2023
‘Woke Activists’ Running the Agenda?
According to Smith, “woke activists” are the ones behind taking away Williams’ name.
He added his great-great-grandfather’s money and subsequent donations from the Williams’ and their relatives have kept the law school afloat and financially viable; they are offended by having his name stripped away.
On January 30, Smith wrote a long letter to University President Kevin Hallock asking for all funds to be returned.
Smith notes that Williams actually gave $10,000 to keep the law school going and gave 1889 from his estate after he died in 1889. In total, Smith estimates that Williams gave a minimum of $65,000 to the U. of Richmond.
With an endowment of $3.3 billion, Smith demanded that the university give its entire endowment to his family since it is all “tainted” by the slave-owning of his ancestor.
If they truly want to prove their “virtue,” get rid of all that dirty money, he said.
The leftover $300 million can be paid out by the “woke faculty” and pledged in promissory notes, Williams said in his letter to Hallock.
When Richmond University removed T.C. Williams' name from its law school building to placate woke students, the Williams' family was understandably outraged. They want the money back that was donated a century ago, with interest.https://t.co/23BWwtbeMN
— Sarah Cain (@TheCrusaderGal) February 14, 2023
The Bottom Line
Smith says all the money would be used for “charitable purposes.” Though the anger he’s feeling is clearly more about proving a point than anything else.
What do you think about this story? Should the University of Richmond give back all that “tainted” money that traces back to Williams? If they don’t want his name, why do they want the financial growth and security his money helped provide them?This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.