UC Hastings Board Directs Chancellor & Dean to Pursue Name Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sybil Wyatt
Chief Communications Officer, UC Hastings Law
wyattsybil@uchastings.edu

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Nov. 2, 2021—The University of California Hastings College of the Law Board of Directors voted today to authorize UC Hastings leadership to work with state legislators and other stakeholders to change the College’s name. UC Hastings was founded in 1878 by Serranus Hastings, who perpetrated genocidal acts against Native Californians in the 1850s in the Round and Eden valleys.

“UC Hastings has collaborated with the Yuki People and members of other affected tribes for the last four years in pursuit of restorative justice. The goal of our collaborations with the tribes is to bring the educational resources of the College to help address the generational trauma inflicted by Serranus Hastings,” said Carl W. “Chip” Robertson (’98), Chair of the Board of Directors. “That work has raised our awareness of the wrongs committed by the College’s namesake and the ongoing pain they cause, and our decision is that we can no longer associate our great institution with his name. With this vote, we authorize UC Hastings leadership to work in good faith with legislators and other stakeholders to change our school’s name. We know that some members of our community are attached to the school’s name because of the College’s wonderful 143-year history, unrelated to Serranus Hastings. But this change is a critical step in addressing our founder’s role in Native Californian genocide.”

Because the Hastings name is written into state law, a change to the school’s name requires legislation from the California State Legislature.

In 2017, upon becoming Chancellor and Dean of UC Hastings, David Faigman began to investigate Serranus Hastings’ legacy. Finding little information, he commissioned a historian to conduct a thorough study and established the Hastings Legacy Review Committee—and later—the Restorative Justice Advisory Board to recommend steps toward restorative justice.

Since then, UC Hastings has collaborated extensively with members of the pertinent tribes, including the Yuki, on restorative justice actions including:

  • Founding an Indigenous Law Center and related educational programs.
  • Exploring experiential educational opportunities for UC Hastings students and those of other UC campuses to provide pro bono assistance to residents of Round Valley.
  • Discussing educational opportunities for students of the Yuki People and other members of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, with possibilities such as a partnership with the College’s prizewinning moot court team, scholarship opportunities, and support for developing historical records of Native People’s experience.
  • Creating a public memorial to the Yuki people in a prominent location on the UC Hastings campus.

“Four years ago, I initiated a robust process for engaging Native Californians whose tribes were affected by the deadly acts of Serranus Hastings,” said Dean Faigman. “The time has come to recognize that changing the College’s name is an important step in that process. I am committed to working diligently to do so.”