ARLINGTON, Va. - What's in a name? Apparently, a lot if you aren’t careful. It is a lesson the George Mason University is learning the hard way.
Back on March 31, George Mason University said it had received a $30 million donation from both the conservative Charles Koch Foundation and an anonymous donor. In exchange for the money, the university would rename its law school for late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The university announced it was renaming its law school the "The Antonin Scalia School of Law.” But what they were not counting on was that they had accidentally created an embarrassing acronym – “ASSoL.”
People on social media noticed and the university wound up being the target of jokes.
Now, the school has decided to change the name again.
In a letter to alumni, the dean of George Mason’s law school acknowledged the acronym controversy and said the school would be instead named “The Antonin Scalia Law School.”
However, even before the jokes, some students were not happy with the name due to Scalia's conservative Supreme Court record. Others said they would put up with jokes if it meant the school received the $30 million donation.
"I'm sure the Dean’s Office isn't laughing about it, but me as a student and I think a lot of my fellow students are laughing at it," said Jaren Stanton, a George Mason law student.
"It seemed like an April Fools’ joke in the beginning, but it wasn't the case, so it's very shocking," said law student Michelle Shaw.
"If you were hiring a lawyer to represent you, wouldn't you want a certified I won't say it
“Obviously it was something we didn't think through,” said George Mason law professor Todd Zywicki. “We thought the nickname would be the Scalia School of Law and obviously didn't plan it all out ahead of time.”
The new name will not be official until it is approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia on July 1.