University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School will change its short-form name back to "Penn Law" from "Carey Law" after widespread backlash from the law school community. In the fall of 2022, the shortened name will become "Penn Carey Law," Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger announced Monday.
More than 3,000 law students and alumni signed a petition demanding the school change its short-form name back to "Penn Law," arguing employers would not recognize the new name and that "Carey Law" is not as prestigious as "Penn Law."
"Much of the conversation has centered on concerns over the short-form name, instead of a focus on how the Carey Foundation gift will be used," Ruger said in the statement. "We have heard you. Like all of you, my colleagues and I care deeply about the Law School’s history, tradition, and reputation in the academy, profession, and across the globe."
The "Carey Law" logo at the top of the school's website was changed to a new logo consisting of "Penn Law" and "University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School."
The shortened form of the name is used on official University communications, signage, and documents, according to the law school's style guide. The abbreviated form is also used on the law school's merchandise. Penn's law school, like the other schools at the University, has a style guide to regulate the school's branding.
Administrators announced in a Nov. 11 town hall meeting that the school was considering changing its short-form name back to Penn Law. At the meeting, students criticized the administration for changing the brand of the school without input from students.
In the evening after the meeting, several "Penn Law is now Carey Law" banners on posts outside several law school buildings were taken down. A large portion of the Penn Law website had text that was changed from "Carey Law" back to "Penn Law."
The Board of Trustees approved the name change to "University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School" on Nov. 8, after a $125 million donation by the W.P. Carey Foundation — the largest donation to any law school.
The return back to the "Penn Law" name also comes after the school asked Twitter to shut down parody accounts owned by law students. These parody accounts had the handles @pennlaw, @CareyLRev, and @CareyLawAdmiss. The school switched from using the @pennlaw handle to the @careylawupenn handle after the naming donation was publicly announced.
In the statement, Ruger also reiterated the effects Carey's donation will have on the school, such as expanding financial aid opportunities for historically underrepresented students and expanding pro bono and public service programs. The message was sent to all Penn Law students and alumni.
The name "Penn Carey Law" will be used the semester after the current first-year law students graduate.
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