Amid opiod crisis, Tufts removes Sackler name from buildings, programs
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Amid opiod crisis, Tufts removes Sackler name from buildings, programs

Dean of medical school says students ‘find it objectionable’ to be in facilities named after family under fire for role in the crisis; university won’t return donations

Worker Gabe Ryan removes a sign that includes the name Arthur M. Sackler at an entrance to Tufts School of Medicine, December 5, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Worker Gabe Ryan removes a sign that includes the name Arthur M. Sackler at an entrance to Tufts School of Medicine, December 5, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

JTA — Tufts University has removed 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.

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.

This photo from September 25, 2019, shows a sign at an entrance to Tufts School of Medicine in Boston, identifying the address as the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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.

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.

The university will not be returning any of the donated money.

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.”

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