Board of UC Hastings law school recommends name change in response to founder's role in massacres
The University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco would get a name change under a recommendation approved Wednesday by the school’s board of directors.
The new name would be the University of California College of the Law in San Francisco. The shortened version would be the UC College of the Law in San Francisco or UC Law SF, according to a July 27 announcement by David L. Faigman, the school’s chancellor and dean.
The vote follows “an extensive process” that began when Faigman appointed a review committee to investigate the history of the law school’s namesake and founder, Serranus Clinton Hastings, a politician and California’s first chief justice. Hastings helped organize the massacres of hundreds of Native Americans.
The killings targeted Yuki Indians and happened mostly from 1858 to 1860, about 20 years before Hastings founded the college, according to a school news release.
Since then, the school has worked on restorative justice measures, including the opening of an indigenous law center. It also hosted meetings with the Round Valley Indian Tribes and its Yuki Committee, and it sponsored eight events to hear the views of students, staff, faculty and alumni.
Some members of the Yuki Committee supported renaming the school with a Yuki-language name. But that drew objections from the Ramaytush Ohlone, on whose ancestral land the college sits.
The school received hundreds of emails and letters on the issue. Seventy-eight percent supported getting rid of the Hastings name, and 22% opposed it. Among those who wanted a name change, 67% wanted a geographic name, 26% wanted another name or didn’t state a preference, and 7% supported a Yuki-language name.
The board’s recommendation would have to be approved by the California legislature and signed into law by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The name change would take effect in January 2023.
Among the publications with coverage are Law.com and Reuters.
ABAJournal.com: “UC Hastings law school will advocate for name change because of namesake’s role in massacres”
ABAJournal.com: “Founder’s role in massacres leads to reckoning for Hastings law school”