The Antonin Scalia School of Law first drew a few snickers for its unfortunate acronym but now, even after the name was tweaked, there are still some lawmakers who oppose the late Supreme Court justice's namesake institution.
George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School — as it would be called, Dean Henry N. Butler wrote in a letter to the campus community on Tuesday
— was made possible through an anonymous $20 million gift contingent upon renaming the university's law school after Scalia, The Washington Post reported
But 10 Democratic legislators from Virginia are insisting that the donation be made public and called the name change "disturbing." They have banded together to urge the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which would have to sign off on the name change for it to become official, to deny it.
"Public universities do not operate in the shadows of secret money and executive sessions," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to State Council chairman G. Gilmer Minor III, according to The Post.
"While this kind of practice might be acceptable in the private sector or with a private school, it is not how Virginia’s public institutions are expected to operate," the letter continued.
The $20 million anonymous donation and another $10 million given by the Charles Koch Foundation will go to fund a new scholarship program, the newspaper stated.
"We continue to believe the significant scholarship gift to the university will benefit hundreds of students and honor an esteemed member of the Supreme Court," David Rehr, senior associate dean of the George Mason law school, told The Post. "We plan to move ahead with the name change."
Scalia was a guest lecturer at the school and a Virginia resident, George Mason said in a statement last week
. He also spoke at the dedication of the law school building in 1999. He died in February at age 79, having served 30 years on the Supreme Court.
"Justice Scalia was a law teacher, public servant, legal commentator, and jurist nonpareil," Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, according to a statement posted by George Mason.
". . . It is a tribute altogether fitting that George Mason University's law school will bear his name. May the funds for scholarships, faculty growth, and curricular development aid the Antonin Scalia School of Law to achieve the excellence characteristic of Justice Scalia, grand master in life and law," she added.
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