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A tale of two universities and their donations from a drug-company family

Last Thursday, Tufts University announced it would remove the Sackler name everywhere it appears on its campuses, because of the family's ties to the opioid crisis.

The next day, the president of Harvard, who was previously the president of Tufts, said nope, doing what Tufts did would be "inappropriate."

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Comments

Inappropriate for WHO?

Don't wanna upset the rich donors because they know if they do wrong, their name will be removed also?

Do the right thing Harvard.

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Legally. Do you know what the agreement was when the donation was made?

I dont.

But hey, you do you and make yourself feel morally superior.

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Agreement, no agreement. Doesnt matter.

Sacklers gave that money when the name was a good name, now Sackler is associated with something bad.

Harvard has enough money and pro bono lawyers to take this one pretty easily, and probably win. They could argue that the Sackler name is tainted now and brings a bad name to the university. Pretty simple case.

On a related note, you OK with people keeping the money Jeffery Epstein gave to harvard? You OK with that? because this argument also works for this too.

Give the money back, worry about consequences later.

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The patriarch (Arthur Sackler) gave the money long before the opioid crisis.

Comparing that to Jeff Epstein is like censoring the name 'du Pont' (which dates back to the 1800's) from everything it's written on just because heir John du Pont was a nutcase and a murderer.

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Harvard has enough money and pro bono lawyers to take this one pretty easily

What evidence is there that anyone is providing legal services to Harvard pro bono?

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that Harvard needs pro bono legal aid? Their endowment is worth 11 figures. I think they can pay for their own legal counsel.

Failing that, I hear they’ve hired a lawyer or two over in that law school of theirs, and they might even have a 3L or two to draft the briefs.

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Are you seriously arguing that Harvard needs pro bono legal aid? Their endowment is worth 11 figures. I think they can pay for their own legal counsel.

If you'll read my post again, you may notice that I'm arguing just the opposite: I'm asking cybah for some evidence to support his/her claim that Harvard has lots of lawyers doing pro bono work for them.

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Take somebody's money, promise to name a building after them, then renege? Yes, the right thing do to indeed.

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...the Sackler family were Uhub readers!

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If the Tufts were truly upset by their ties to the Sackler family the would return the millions they took.

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Why give back the money when they can use it to educate people?

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...signs posted all over it’s campus proclaiming, “Proud To Be Smokefree”. But smokers abound all over the campus. Many of them clearly employees of Tufts. Complaints to security and the info desk go ignored.
Butts litter the sidewalks and kill the plants in the planted areas.
Nicotine is known to interfere with addition abatement drugs. Cigarette smoke has killed far more than opioids, alcohol and other drugs combined.
Tufts is just giving lip service to the addiction problem by removing a few signs.
Go to Brigham and Womens. The campus truly is smokefree because the policy is enforced. Tufts is a joke. I hope I never end up there.

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Nicotine has been grotesquely demonized by the ban cigarettes, ban flavored cigarettes, ban Vapes (Public health emergency? Really?).

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Do you mean employees at Tufts Medical Center (doctors, nurses, hospital staff) or Tufts University School of Medicine (students and faculty)?

The hospital and the school are two completely different institutions that share the same name.

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Arthur Sackler had little to do with the OxyContin. He was dead before the drug was even developed. I suppose you'd have a case if it was the "Sackler Family" but it specifically the "Arthur M. Sackler Museum".

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Arthur Sackler, whose generosity made the building possible and in whose name the building is named, died before OxyContin came to market. I would say their stance is fair, as is having a display on the effects of the opioid crisis in our community.

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It's a tale of three brothers - and yes, Arthur M. Sackler wasn't involved (though his brother's utilized marketing strategies that he developed). He died years before OxyContin came to market and before Purdue Pharma was formed.

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Arthur Sackler was still living when precursors to OxyContin were being developed. His money and likely his ethics were passed on to the next generation and helped enable the process that led to this disaster.

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Blame the manufacturer of a product that has legitimate uses, not the idiot “doctors” who over-prescribed or criminals who peddled heroin long before OxyContin existed. That’s like blaming gun makers for criminals who use guns to commit crimes.

Oh, wait...

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You do realize that the manufacturer lied to doctors about the safety and effectiveness of their product, right? And that they had a very aggressive marketing aimed at convincing doctors that this was a good product to hand out like candy.

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Oh this is easy, Tufts just gives the money back.

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Remove the name and return the money, simple.

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So nothing good came from the creation of OxyContin? Is that what we all really believe or are we just desperately looking for a scapegoat to blame for little sweet Timmy and Becky’s addiction?

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The Crimson article shows a demonstration in front of the Arthur M. Sackler Building, which used to contain the Sackler Museum but no longer does. The Sackler Museum was merged with the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums to create what is now called the Harvard Art Museums (though it still is formally subdivided into those three parts).

For Harvard, there are now two separate questions -- whether to take his name off the building, and whether to remove it as a component name of the museum.

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There were three Sackler brothers, all of whom made gifts to Tufts. Arthur Sackler died before the family company, Purdue Pharma, introduced OxyContin, which fueled the nation’s opioid crisis. His brothers bought his stake in the company. But it was his name that was removed from Tufts Medical Center.

Arthur’s widow, Jillian Sackler, released a statement saying, “It deeply saddens me to witness Arthur being blamed for actions taken by his brothers and other OxySacklers.”

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