Dear UC Hastings Community (soon to be UC Law SF Community!),
I write to offer you an update on the lawsuit filed against our law school in early October. Per my October 4th message, a small group of Hastings’ alumni and some descendants of Serranus Hastings sued to stop the renaming of our law school after the passage of Assembly Bill 1936, which was signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 23.
Today, our legal team filed a motion seeking immediate dismissal of the lawsuit. Pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute, we have the right to relief for “any act . . . in furtherance of [our] right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the California Constitution in connection with a public issue.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16 (2019). The College requested that the court dismiss this lawsuit because the decision to change our name was based on activity that is protected under the United States and California Constitutions, including the First Amendment. It is our belief that plaintiffs cannot show that any of their claims against the College will succeed.
The College remains committed to defending our position in court and to moving forward with the name change in 2023. Our existing planning efforts are very much continuing as we navigate through this litigation (thank you to all my colleagues who are playing integral roles in this process). Renaming our school is an important component of the College’s efforts towards addressing the impact of our founder and first dean, especially the harms committed against the Round Valley Indian Tribes and the Yuki People.
This name change comes at an exciting time in our law school’s history. Thanks to each of you, the heart, the spirit, and the excellence will remain. And starting in the new year, the new name will signal yet another great chapter.
You will notice that our homepage has a link to learn more about the name change, including an FAQ. This is a great place to go with questions. I recognize that this is an important issue to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and you can expect to hear key updates about this process as they occur. In fact, I will update you again later this month with further details on our transition timing and plans.
David L. Faigman
Chancellor and Dean
John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California Hastings College of the Law