(Black Press Media files)

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

The man who donated $30 million to the University of British Columbia is taking the school to court because his name is not on all degree certificates.

In a notice of civil claim filed on Nov. 5, Peter A. Allard alleges the university is reneging on the gift agreement he signed in 2014 that required UBC to “exclusively” use Peter A. Allard School of Law on degree certificates and the school’s website.

Allard’s name is synonymous with the law program at UBC; its building is known as Allard Hall. The $100,000 Allard Prize for International Integrity is awarded every two years to honour leadership in protecting human rights or fighting corruption.

The philanthropist alleges the proper wording is not used on some UBC law degree certificates, namely the Master of Laws and the Doctor of Philosophy in Law. Those degrees are handed out by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The lawsuit alleges Allard raised the issue with the law school’s assistant dean in 2016, saying he did not require his exact name on the certificates, but a “reasonable” reference to it.

In 2017, however, the claim alleges UBC president Santa Ono said the university would not pursue the matter any further and deferred to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

In April 2019, an arbitrator ruled that though UBC was aware of the distinction between the graduate, post-doctoral and law school degrees, there was “no evidence” that officials deliberately withheld that information.

“They simply didn’t think of it at the time,” the decision reads.

Allard claims the arbitrator made a legal error, and asks the B.C. Supreme Court to reconsider the matter on the basis that gift agreement “makes it clear” that all law-related degrees should bear his name.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. The university has not yet filed a response.


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