Much has been written about the decision to rename George Mason University’s law school after the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — and particularly about the unfortunate acronym suggested by the proposed name, the Antonin Scalia School of Law (the name has since been modified to the more abbreviation-friendly Antonin Scalia Law School.)
But not everyone is happy with the school’s new designation. A coalition of more than 70 GMU faculty and staff members signed an open letter Thursday denouncing the decision to name the school after Scalia, calling it an “affront to those in our community who have been the targets of Scalia’s racism, sexism, and homophobia.”
The letter acknowledges the $30 million in donations to the school — including $20 million from an anonymous donor and $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation — that led to the renaming decision but criticizes the “secret” terms of the gift and the lack of feedback sought from students, faculty and staff.
Scalia’s values, the GMU employees write, do not reflect the values of the school’s community.
“As a Supreme Court Justice, Scalia enacted direct harms to many in our student body, especially students of color, women, and LGBT students,” the letter reads. “To those students — and all students committed to realizing our university’s stated commitment to a diverse, accessible, and inclusive learning environment — we want to affirm publicly our commitment to fighting alongside them for a just world, beginning with a just university.”