The Board of Directors for UC Hastings College of the Law decided to drop the “Hastings” name in a unanimous vote Wednesday.
Under the board’s recommendation, the college would be known as UC College of the Law, San Francisco.
In a statement to the college community, Dean David Faigman said the decision came after a committee investigated Serranus Hastings’ role in the mass killings of Yuki people in the Round Valley and Eden Valley regions. Hastings was the law school’s founder.
According to Faigman, the committee began its investigation in 2017 and worked with the Round Valley Indian Tribes, or RVIT, and its Yuki committee to establish restorative justice measures. The measures include the opening of the Indigenous Law Center and the curation of a commemorative space to honor Yuki people on the campus.
“I am excited about the pending name change, which comes at an exciting time in our law school’s history,” Faigman said in the statement.
The Board of Directors’ recommendation, as outlined in Assembly Bill 1936, will now head to the state legislature. If passed by both houses and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the name change would go into effect in January 2023, according to a board of directors’ press release.
Ryan King, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, stated in an email that the process to get the name changed was “extensive.”
“We appreciate all those who have come forward and continue to express their important insights and impassioned dialogue,” King said in the email.
James Russ, president of the RVIT, echoed King’s sentiments, stating in the Board of Directors’ press release that it was “not an easy discussion to have” and at times involved conversations that were “pretty heated.”
However, according to Russ, the team “stayed at the table” and talked everything through.
“We had Indian people at the table taking on these discussions, looking at the renaming of the law school and the restorative justice measures,” Russ said in the press release. “That was crucial.”
According to the press release, the college will sponsor students to do pro bono legal work for affected tribes and is considering renaming the library with an Indigenous-based name.
The release added that the college’s efforts are not only taking place in San Francisco but also in Mendocino County, where Yuki and Round Valley tribe members reside.
“Though we are one step closer to renaming our law school, our work here is not done,” Faigman said in the statement. “Thank you for being part of this exciting and important chapter in our school’s history.”