Canada is known for many things. Maple syrup. Ok, that’s one thing, but they’re working on it. Judging by Toronto Law’s stance on accepting money that may create an appearance of impropriety, they may develop a reputation for ethics and accountability.
The University of Toronto’s prestigious law school is giving back a US$450,000 donation from Amazon in light of reports that the source of the funding was not disclosed.
“The Faculty of Law upheld the University’s firm commitment to academic freedom, institutional autonomy and integrity. Nonetheless, we acknowledge the important questions raised about the lack of full transparency pertaining to the gift, and the perception of external influence on our academic activities,” said law Dean Jutta Brunnée in a statement…U of T also pledged to introduce a new rule to publicly disclose all future philanthropic donations from corporations.
Now, isn’t that refreshing to read? There used to be a time when Supreme Court justices not only made apologies, but their actions matched their expressed intentions. How did we go from Abe Fortas apologizing, returning money and stepping down to Roberts abdicating his responsibility as the Chief Justice and shrugging whenever the next biggest scoop on judicial foul play from Alito and Thomas drops weekly?
The school goes further and elaborates on why accepting money from Amazon to do antitrust research probably wasn’t a good idea:
“It looked like the company tried to wrap itself in the reputation of the university and presenting this as disinterested research, when really there may have been a political agenda behind it,” said David Robinson, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, which represents academic staff at Canada’s colleges and universities.
Kind of reminds me of a megadonor that tried to wrap their unreported gift giving in the legacy of one of the sitting Supreme Court justices when there really might have been a political agenda behind it.
I know its hard to keep track of all the nonsense excuses ranging from my friend told me I could do it to technical defenses from a dictionary, but the museum excuse is one Crow actually gave to justify buying CT’s mom’s house.
Kudos to Toronto Law, thanks for holding yourself accountable to the dictates that a high ethical standard requires. Like Kagan or Jackson…basically most of the judges that aren’t totally down for revoking child labor laws.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by tweet at @WritesForRent.