A New Name for California’s Oldest Law School? It’s Not Easy.


When a New York Times article last year detailed the involvement of the founder of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in state-sponsored massacres of Indigenous Californians, an outcry ensued. The law school’s board swiftly and unanimously agreed to change the school’s name.

But in the months since, university administrators have learned that deleting a tainted name might be the easy part. Choosing a new one is proving to be a fraught and costly process.

There is disagreement on what the new name should be, a debate that encapsulates an era in America in which we are reassessing our history, reanalyzing our heroes and trying to agree on who should be honored by institutions — and who should not.

A small but vocal group of people at Hastings believe that the university should keep its name after all. “It seems like it would make more sense to use the money…

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