If Leftist Universities Want To Rename Buildings, Then The Descendants Of The Endowing Benefactors Deserve A Refund… With Interest!
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Jane Weir reported some very good news in her story about the renaming of law schools because their namesakes were white men who did Bad Things. The descendants of Serranus Clinton Hastings want the University of California, San Francisco, to refund their original $100,000 in gold returned… with interest. A lot of interest. They’ve sued for $1.7 billion. Well, Robert C. Smith, a lawyer and financier in Richmond, Virginia, thinks the same way, although he hasn’t filed a lawsuit. 

He is the great-great-grandson of tobacco tycoon T.C. Williams, formerly the namesake of the law school at the University of Richmond, a woke university that also renamed five other buildings. They included one that bore the name of Douglas Southall Freeman, a rector at the school and the Pulitzer-Prize winning biographer of Robert E. Lee and George Washington [UR renames six buildings tied to enslavers, eugenicists, by Jackie Llanos and Madyson Fitzgerald, The Collegian, March 28, 2022]. 

Supposedly an “enslaver” too, T.C. Williams is the reason the law school even exists, Smith wrote in a letter to university president Kevin Hallock{Email him}. Williams bailed out the university when it was in debt. So Smith too demanded that it return the family’s money... again... with interest. Total: more than  $3 billion.

Wrote Smith, a graduate of the law school:

Exercising quiet humility and modesty, the Williams family’s contributions have served the University for nearly 200 years, and the City of Richmond much longer. You moved to Richmond  two years ago. Besides being a carpet bagging weasel and spitting on the graves of my family, what have you done for the University or the City of Richmond?  …

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.

[The Woke, Ingrate University of Richmond Leadership Should Give the Money Back, Real Clear Markets, January 30, 2023]

That figure is based on all the family’s contributions to the university. Going only by the $25,000 with which the family endowed the law school when Williams died in 1889 ($817,500 today), the return would be $51 million [A family wants its 132-year-old donation to the University of Richmond refunded, by Eric Kolenich, Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 7, 2023],

Amusingly, a black columnist for the newspaper, Michael Paul Williams—no relation to T.C.!—argues against returning the money. The reason is unsurprising:

The wealth the Williams family has passed on to UR and other Richmond institutions—if indeed tied to slave ownership—should not be seen as an entitlement to be refunded should their privilege be withdrawn. It should be viewed in the context of unrealized reparations for the descendants of the enslaved, and given in the spirit of humility.

[An enslaver’s family wants UR to refund its gift. Can we talk about reparations?, Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 10, 2023]

Message to Robert Smith: Sue the university.

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