Photo: Glenn Kulbako for Tufts University

 

(JTA) — Tufts University will remove the Sackler name from several buildings and programs on its medical campus.

The decision announced on Thursday came after an independent report slammed the school for taking gifts from the family. Tufts commissioned the study earlier this year after a lawsuit was filed against the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma, the private held pharmaceutical company owned by the family.

The Sacklers have come under fire for their central role in the opioid crisis that has led to hundreds of thousands of American deaths. Purdue is the manufacturer of OxyContin, one of the leading opioids on the market.

Sackler family attorney Daniel Connolly said he will work to reverse the decision, the New York Times reported, calling it “particularly disturbing and intellectually dishonest.”

Several major cultural institutions — including the Tate museum in England, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York — have said they will no longer accept Sackler money. The Sackler name remains on the medical school at Tel Aviv University and New York University Langone Medical Center.

NYU Langone Health says it is no longer taking money from the family and it is “evaluating” whether its Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences will hold on to its name.

The Sackler family gave Tufts $15 million over more than 30 years and its name is attached to its School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education, as well as on laboratories and research funds.

Tufts does not plan to return any of the Sacklers’ or Purdue’s donations, but announced it intends to start a $3 million endowment for addiction prevention and treatment programs and to create an exhibit at the medical school that will detail the Sacklers’ involvement with Tufts and, as university President Anthony Monaco said, “educate the community about lessons we all must learn from the opioid epidemic.”

This is the first time Tufts has removed a donor name from a building, according to the Boston Globe.

“Our students find it objectionable to walk into a building that says Sackler on it when they come in here to get their medical education,” Dr. Harris Berman, dean of the medical school, told the Times.

 

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