Many years ago, in my previous life as a high school band geek, I remember my band director telling me an apocryphal story about how the band at the “Sam Houston Institute of Technology” decided to spell the school’s acronym during a halftime show and the embarrassment that ensued. I never knew whether that was a true story or something that came out of the annals of band director humor. But today we have a real life version of that story that has just played out.
It seems that the powers that be at George Mason University, located just outside of Washington, D.C., wanted to honor late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by renaming the college’s school of law. But there was a problem, as many on social media were quick to point out. “Antonin Scalia School of Law” produces the acronym “ASSoL,” or as some referred to it, “ASSLaw.”
George Mason University Law School Renamed Antonin Scalia School Of Law https://t.co/gfObeyueBs
— Crooks and Liars (@crooksandliars) March 31, 2016
— Anthony B. (@PoliticalAnt) March 31, 2016
New York magazine called the acronym “unintentional and perfect.” Writer Eric Levitz observed,
GSU nearly redeemed Scalia’s legacy — atoning for his fatal expansion of the Second Amendment, his oligarchy-entrenching vote on Citizens United, his various attempts to deny the full humanity of gay Americans — by providing generations of students with the opportunity to giggle about the ‘ASSoL at George Mason University.’
As soon as the GMU administrators realized what they had created, “ASSoL” became the “Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.” But the damage had been done.
— Sean McLernon (@SFMcLernon) April 6, 2016
— gregorg (@gregorg) April 6, 2016
Any name change has to be approved by the Virginia legislature. Delegate Marcus Simon, who represents Fairfax, says he will oppose the change due to the fact that the university recently received a $30 million donation that came with a request to rename the school for Scalia. When you take that into consideration along with the fact that GMU is known for producing law graduates with a decidedly conservative lean, “ASSoL” actually sounds like a pretty accurate and appropriate description.
“Hey, where did you go to law school?”
“Me? I’m a graduate of ASSol.”
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images