Britain's Oxford University slashes relations with the Sackler family regarding opinion relations

May 18, 2023: Britain’s University of Oxford slashes ties with key benefactor the Sackler family, whose wealth derives from addictive opioid drugs and stand accused of helping fuel a U.S. epidemic.

The decision to strip the family’s name starting from two galleries in the Ashmolean Museum, a university library, and three staff positions follows an investigation by the university’s recent vice-chancellor, Irene Tracey.

It comes after continued criticism of the British institution’s retention of the name, even as other key bodies like the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert (V&A) axed their Sackler links in recent years.

Some members of the billionaire Sackler family are known for founding and owning Purdue Pharma. This pharmaceutical giant produces Oxycontin, a prescription painkiller blamed for helping fuel the U.S. opioid crisis.

The university said that the move, approved by its governing council Monday, had also got the “full support” of the Sackler family.

“Oxford University has undertaken to review of its relationship with the Sackler family and their trusts, which the way their benefactions to the University are recognized,” the university stated in a statement.

“Following this review, the University deciding that the University buildings, spaces and staff positions which use the Sackler name will longer do so,” it stated.

The Sackler Library named the Bodleian Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library as part of the move.

However, the Sackler name be retained on the Clarendon Arch and the Ashmolean Museum’s donor board for “historical recording which donations to the university.”

The university also said that all donations from the Sackler family and their trusts would be retained for their intended educational purposes. However, no new contributions have been obtained from the family or their convictions since January 2019.

In 2019, the Louvre in Paris removed the Sackler title from one of its wings; New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art slashed the name from seven exhibition spaces, which include the wing that houses the Temple of Dendur.

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