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UCLA cancels $3-million research gift from Sterling Foundation

UCLA will return $425,000 recently donated by the Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation for kidney research and will cancel an agreement that would have brought Sterling’s gift to $3 million over seven years, the university announced Tuesday.

The university also denied Sterling's previous boasts that his donation and pledge were supposed to lead UCLA to name a lab after him and his wife.

“Mr. Sterling’s divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA’s core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion and respect. For those reasons, UCLA has decided to return Mr. Sterling’s initial payment of $425,000 and reject the remainder of a $3-million pledge he recently made to support basic kidney research by the UCLA Division of Nephrology,” UCLA spokeswoman Carol Stogsdill said in a statement.

The decision was announced soon after the NBA announced sanctions against Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, for recorded comments about African Americans.

Before its cancellation, the Sterling gift in March to a UCLA professor’s study of kidney proteins had raised difficulties because of an advertisement that Sterling had taken out in the Los Angeles Times about it. The ad said UCLA planned on naming a kidney lab after Sterling and his wife and that a “gold-colored plaque” honoring them would be placed in the lobby of a campus building.

However, Stogsdill said that the donation agreement between UCLA and the foundation did not call for installing such a plaque or naming a lab after the Sterlings. The university never intended to do those things, even before the recent scandal broke, she said.

The agreement called for an initial $425,000 payment and for the remainder of the $3 million to be paid out over seven years and “nothing else was touched on,” Stogsdill said.

The gift agreement did "not contemplate signage or the naming of a research laboratory,” she said.

A staff person answering the phone at Sterling’s foundation office said no one was available to comment immediately.


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