After Antonin Scalia’s death, conservative George Mason Law School changed its name to honor the late Supreme Court justice, but just this week the law school changed its name once more – this time to avoid an awkward acronym which took off on social media this week.
The “Antonin Scalia School of Law” is still George Mason University’s official name for the law school, but after students on social media took to calling the conservative law school #ASSoL and #ASSLaw, George Mason University tweaked the name of its law school one more time. According to the George Mason University website, the Antonin Scalia School of Law is now known as the “Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University,” avoiding the awkward acronym that plagued the law school over this past week.
Still, #ASSoL and #ASSLaw are currently trending and it’s unlikely that the Antonin Scalia School of Law will ever shake the unfortunate acronym, at least as long as the George Mason Law School is named after the controversial Supreme Court justice known for his acerbic wit and blistering dissents. The George Mason University addressed the unfortunate acronym this week in a brief statement to the press, reports USA Today.
“The Antonin Scalia School of Law has caused some acronym controversy on social media. The Antonin Scalia Law School is a logical substitute, we anticipate the naming will be effective on July 1, 2016,” reads the statement from Harry N. Butler, Dean of George Mason University’s School of Law, previously titled the Antonin Scalia School of Law, or #ASSLaw on social media.
The conservative law school at George Mason University was given a gift of $30 million in “conditional” donations. One, a $10 million donation from conservative super donor Charles Koch stipulated that the donation would only go through once the George Mason University School of Law received an additional $20 million in donations. The majority of the donation package came from an anonymous donor who gave $20 million to the George Mason Law School on the condition that it renamed the law school after the late Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia – the first name chosen was the Antonin Scalia School of Law, and it remains the official name of the law school, but on university materials it will be referred to as the Antonin Scalia Law School in order to avoid the unfortunate acronyms #ASSoL and #ASSLaw.
Another controversy surrounding the renaming of the George Mason Law School concerns students who don’t want Antonin Scalia’s name on their diplomas when they graduate. Antonin Scalia, a fiery and unapologetically conservative Supreme Court justice, was something of a controversial figure, and some students fear that his name being on their law school diplomas may cause some trouble for them down the line when they’re on the hunt for jobs – being associated with Antonin Scalia might cause some employers to assume a conservative bias.
Additionally, students and faculty report being “blindsided” by the announcement that the George Mason Law School would be changing its name entirely in order to honor the late Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia. Butler noted in his statement this week that he’s received a “great many” comments on the new name, and seeks to address any concerns that students and faculty might have after the announcement that they would no longer be attending George Mason Law School, but rather the Antonin Scalia School of Law.
“I flat out would not attend any school named for Scalia,” said one critic on social media, another commented, “Is the school being corrupted by Scalia’s evil voodoo powers from beyond the grave?”
Still, even critics of the move agree that the money will only be a good thing for students of the now-renamed Antonin Scalia Law School, which will use the massive donations to help students graduate without as much student loan debt.
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