“Penn Law” is back to being Penn Law again. At least until 2022.
After howls of protest, that’s the compromise that came Monday from the dean of the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law, which will continue to be called Penn Law until the start of the 2022 academic year.
The law school dean, Ted Ruger, informed students and alumni by email that starting in that 2022-23 academic year, the school’s official short-form name will be “Penn Carey Law.”
The news follows petitions, social media outcry, and public pressure from students and alumni furious about the switch to the official short-form “Carey Law”— the result of a $125 million donation from the W.P. Carey Foundation. The naming rights were included as part of the gift and the subsequent renaming to “Carey Law” has prompted a range of reactions from alums and students.
“I am writing to you in response to feedback the law school and university have received regarding the gift and the renaming of the law school to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and the short-form name of Carey Law,” Ruger wrote in the email. “Some reactions have been very positive, some very critical, and others wonder what the future of legal education at Penn will look like thanks to these tremendous resources.”
Ruger wrote that “therefore, consistent with the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, which is our official name, the law school will continue to use Penn Law as our short-form name until the start of the 2022-23 academic year, after which we will use Penn Carey Law, thereby embracing both tradition and transformation.”
The school’s Twitter handle referred to the school as University of Pennsylvania Carey Law school on Monday.
A copy of the dean’s email is available online here:
Still, alums such as Pepper Hamilton law firm partner Kelly Tillery remain outraged.
“We will now have Maryland Carey Law and Penn Carey Law,” Tillery said, which “makes Penn look even more like a franchise now. With all due respect to Maryland, Penn’s reputation is going to be seriously diminished. A donation moratorium is, I understand, already being organized, as is a ‘Refuse To Use’ the new name campaign. The fight is not over."
Students also believed that the compromise didn’t go far enough.
“Dean Ruger should resign," wrote Michael Frieda, Penn Law J.D. candidate set to graduate in 2020, in an email, following the announcement.
More than 3,000 students and alumni signed a petition calling for the law school’s name to return to Penn Law, he noted.
“Instead, we are now being told that the name Penn Law will exist until Fall 2022, when it will be replaced with Penn Carey Law. This decision was made without input from current students and without surveying the larger body of alumni and donors who signed the petition. This is an attempt to wait out the current classes of students in order to ride the storm of outrage. It would not shock me for a nominal donation from the W.P. Carey foundation in 2023 to permanently change the short form to Carey Law.”