Oxford University Removes Sackler Name From Buildings

The elite British university has become the latest in a long series of institutions to publicly distance themselves from the family, a philanthropic giant whose members led Purdue Pharma, the now bankrupt company that made OxyContin. The drug fueled an opioid crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States.

In 2019, the Louvre in Paris became the first major museum to remove the name of the family from its walls. Tate museums in London decided that they would no longer accept gifts from the family, and Britain’s National Portrait Gallery canceled a planned $1.3 million donation.

In the United States, institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the American Museum of Natural History also distanced themselves from the family.

Last year George Osborne, the chair of London’s British Museum, said that the Sackler name would be removed from the galleries, rooms and endowments the family supported. But last February, an investigation by The Financial Times revealed that Oxford had continued to extend invitations to a Sackler family member in the past two years.

The University said it came to the decision to remove the family’s name after a review of its relationship with the Sacklers and their trusts, “including the way their benefactions to the university are recognized.”

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