The University of Missouri was forced to give half of a $9.2 million donation to Hillsdale College after it failed to honor the wishes of the gift’s conservative donor. Now, the university claims that it had a “different interpretation” of the donor’s vision.
According to a report by Campus Reform, the University of Missouri is trying to explain away its failure to honor the wishes of donor Sherlock Hibbs, who had requested that his donation be used to advance the study of free-market economics.
Breitbart News reported in December that the University of Missouri had settled a lawsuit with Hillsdale College after failing to honor the wishes of Hibbs. When Hibbs initially made the donation to the University of Missouri, he told them that the funds would be transferred to Hillsdale College, a small conservative college in Michigan, should the University of Missouri fail to use the funds to advance the study of Austrian economics.
In a press release, the University of Missouri claimed that they had “differing interpretations” of the donor’s requirements. After realizing that the gift required them to advance conservative ideas, the university realized that it would be most practical for them to split the gift with Hillsdale College.
The settlement indicates the parties have agreed to disagree on their differing interpretations of the gift requirements. During negotiations, university officials determined the most fiscally responsible course of action was to settle the lawsuit and split the endowment. The settlement allows the University of Missouri to keep nearly the entire sum of the original bequest. Additionally, Hillsdale will relinquish oversight of the gift and no longer require the University of Missouri to submit any documentation.
Former Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who represented Hillsdale College in the lawsuit, argued that the University of Missouri never intended to honor Hibb’s requests.
“Missouri University never embraced Mr. Hibbs’ intent, and consequently students aren’t getting the exposure to intellectual philosophies necessary for broad-based education,” Nixon said in a short comment.