GMU faculty: naming law school after Scalia is an injustice to female, LGBT students
George Mason University’s (GMU) decision to rename its law school after the late Justice Antonin Scalia is being internally criticized by hundreds of faculty and staff members who are calling the move an affront to the LGBT community.
“As faculty and staff of George Mason University, we denounce the renaming of our law school after Antonin Scalia,” a portion of GMU’s faculty wrote in a petition against the renaming. “This renaming undermines our mission as a public university and tarnishes our reputation. We also recognize it as an affront to those in our community who have been the targets of Scalia’s racism, sexism, and homophobia.”
The professors admit to the financial benefits of the renaming, which solicited a $20 million donation from an anonymous Scalia admirer and a $10 million donation from billionaire Charles Koch. But the monetary payoff was not enough for GMU’s faculty who are upset the decision was made without their “input and consent.”
“The values that Scalia affirmed from the bench do not reflect the values of our campus community,” they wrote on behalf of the entire community. “Further, the terms of the gift remain secret, and the renaming decision was made without regard for faculty, staff, and student input and consent.”
They go on to call the name change a threat to “students of color, women, and LGBT students,” and provide a corresponding list of hyperlinks to news articles from outlets such as Mother Jones and the Huffington Post to solidify Scalia’s reputation as a sexist, racist, homophobe.
“As a Supreme Court Justice, Scalia enacted direct harms to many in our student body, especially students of color, women, and LGBT students,” they wrote. “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.”
At the time of publication, 118 faculty or staff members had signed the letter. However, GMU currently has approximately 1,819 full or part-time faculty members, meaning roughly only six percent of all faculty have expressed their support for the letter, assuming all 118 signatures came strictly from faculty.
GMU’s faculty are also circulating a sister petition that will be sent to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which has yet to formally approve the name change.
The school has already been renamed once during its short tenure as the Antonin Scalia School of Law (ASS Law) after spectators pointed out its unfortunate acronym.
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