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George Mason Renames Law School After Antonin Scalia Again, Because of Jokes

Photograph via US Mission in Geneva.

George Mason University has tweaked the renaming of its law school after the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, citing an “acronym controversy” that erupted following the initial announcement. Instead of being called the Antonin Scalia School of Law, it will now be known as the Antonin Scalia Law School

The university revealed last week that it would rebrand its Arlington law school after Scalia after receiving a $30 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation and an anonymous member of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group of which Scalia was a star member. But it didn’t take long for some internet chatterboxes to realize that the obvious shorthand for “Antonin Scalia School of Law” would be ASSoL, a string of letters that looks awfully like a popular insult. Several days’ worth of humor followed.

The renaming is expected to become official July 1 when it is approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. But in a letter to students and faculty Tuesday, Dean Henry Butler addressed the butt jokes head-on.  “Under the terms of the anonymous gift, we are authorized to use a variety of different names,” he wrote. “The name initially announced—The Antonin Scalia School of Law – has caused some acronym controversy on social media. The Antonin Scalia Law School is a logical substitute.”

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.