UC Law School in SF wants to drop Hastings from its name

The board of trustees of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law voted unanimously this week to drop Hastings from the law school’s name and replace it with San Francisco due to its founder’s genocidal acts against Native Americans in the 1850s.

The renaming of the school, founded in 1878 by former California Supreme Court Chief Justice and state Attorney General Serranus Hastings, will require the approval of the state legislature and the signing of the Governor Gavin Newsom to become the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, or UC Law SF for short. The change could take place as early as January.

The school’s chancellor, David Faigman, had in 2017 organized a Hastings Legacy Review Panel to investigate Hastings’ legacy. A resulting report, Faigman, published in 2020 detailed hunting expeditions that resulted in the death or dislocation of hundreds of Yuki Indians as Hastings took possession of large parts of Eden Valley and Round Valley in Mendocino County. .

Last November, the school’s board of trustees authorized the school administration to work with state lawmakers to change the name, and the school has held several meetings on the subject since then.

In a letter to the school community that Faigman sent on July 27, he said about 78 percent supported removing the Hastings name, and of those people, 67 supported a geographic name.

Faigman wrote that he fully supports the name change to include San Francisco, saying the law school “has been an integral part of the city in which it has resided for 144 years”, and citing some of its famous graduates such as Vice -President Kamala Harris. and former San Francisco mayors Willie Brown and George Moscone.

The school has also worked with members of affected tribes in the area, including the Yuki, on restoration actions, including founding an Indigenous Law Center and creating a public memorial for the Yuki people on its campus near the San Francisco Civic Center. Faigman said he and the board also support giving an Indigenous-language name to an important space on campus, like the library.

“I am excited about the impending name change, which comes at an exciting time in the history of our law school. The foundation of the college, the heart, the spirit and the excellence will remain,” Faigman wrote.

Jon J. Epps