Law Schools

Faculty senate at George Mason expresses 'deep concern' about renaming law school for Scalia

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The faculty senate of George Mason University has approved a resolution expressing “deep concern” about a $30 million gift that is tied to renaming the law school after the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the New York Times cover the latest controversy over plans to rename the school the Antonin Scalia Law School. Spurring the name change is a $30 million gift from the Charles Koch Foundation, which is supplying $10 million, and an anonymous donor.

The resolution (PDF) approved on Wednesday cites “problematic” aspects of the rebranding. They include celebrating a justice “who made numerous offensive comments about various groups” and suggesting through branding that the university is a conservative institution.

Next week the faculty senate will consider “a more pointed resolution to delay the name change,” according to the Times. The newspaper cites grant agreements released by the faculty senate that show the donation requires the school to add 12 new faculty members, to retain its focus on law and economics, to create two new centers expanding on the law and economics focus, and to notify the Koch foundation if the law dean steps down.

The dean, Henry Butler, used to oversee the law school’s flagship Law and Economics Center, which has received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Also opposing the name change is a democratic lawmaker, Delegate Marcus Simon, the Washington Post reports. On Wednesday, he delivered a petition to a state higher education council that will have to approve the name change. “Stop GMU from selling the naming rights to the law school to anonymous donors who want to name it for Antonin Scalia,” the petition says.

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