Leading law school seeks to remove genocidal founder’s name

Nov 2, 2021, 7:41 AM | Updated: 8:55 pm
In this photo taken Monday, March 13, 2017, student Michelle Freeman, top left, practices her argum...

In this photo taken Monday, March 13, 2017, student Michelle Freeman, top left, practices her argument in a moot courtroom at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. The University of California Hastings College of the Law wants to remove the name of its founder, who sponsored massacres of Native Americans in the 1850s. On Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, the Board of Directors voted to have the college work with state lawmakers and others to remove the name. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California Hastings College of the Law will work on removing the name of its founder, who sponsored massacres of Native Americans in the 1850s, the board of directors voted Tuesday.

The vote authorizes one of the nation’s leading law schools to work with state lawmakers and others to change the institution’s name.

Hastings Law School was founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings, a wealthy rancher and former chief justice of the California Supreme Court. Its graduates include Vice President Kamala Harris and former California Assemblyman and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

But historians say the school’s founder helped orchestrate and finance campaigns by white settlers in Mendocino County to kill and enslave members of the Yuki Indian tribe at a time when California law had legalized lynch mob attacks on Indians along with kidnapping and forced servitude in what some state leaders openly called a war of extermination.

The expeditions arranged by Hastings resulted in the deaths of 300 Yuki, and the government reimbursed him for expenses, including ammunition.

The attacks were part of a three-year series of slaughters and kidnappings by settlers known as the Round Valley Settler Massacres that by some estimates claimed at least 1,000 Indian lives.

The school began to investigate Hastings’ legacy in 2017 and has been working on “restorative justice” initiatives including a free legal aid program for the Yuki and other tribes, founding an Indigenous Law Center and creating a campus memorial to the Yuki people.

“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,” said Carl Robertson, who chairs the Board of Directors.

“I’m not terribly proud of carrying the Hastings name on my law license. There is no forgiveness in this,” Willie Brown said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2020, the law school at the University of California, Berkeley stripped itself of a 19th century namesake who espoused racist views that led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. John Boalt’s name was removed from a school building after a three-year process.

Joseph Cotchett, a trial lawyer and alumnus who has donated about $10 million to the school, told the Chronicle that if the Hastings name remained, he would pull his name from its newly opened Cotchett Law Center.

“I will do everything in my power as a 55-year alumnus of Hastings to change the name, and to honor the Indian tribes that were massacred and were taken advantage of,” Cotchett said.

However, the Hastings name for the college is enshrined in state law and can’t be changed without first changing the law.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is expected to introduce such legislation, perhaps next week, the Chronicle said.

“Hastings definitely needs a name change,” Wiener said. “The idea that this institution would be named for someone who exterminated Native Americans is untenable. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”

Natasha Medel, a Yuki descendant, thanked the college board on Tuesday for its decision.

“I look forward to standing next to you and doing what is right for my people,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

US Soccer Federation hires ad tech company co-founder as CEO

CHICAGO (AP) — JT Batson, co-founder of the advertising technology company Hudson MX, was hired Monday as CEO and secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation. The 40-year-old replaces Will Wilson, the uncle of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Wilson announced in June he was quitting on Oct. 31 after just 2 1/2 years. […]
1 day ago
FILE A group of Russians smile at the border crossing Verkhny Lars between Georgia and Russia on Fr...
Associated Press

Putin’s call-up fuels Russian anger, instability, violence

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Long lines of cars on roads snaking to Russia’s border crossings with Georgia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and similar queues at airports. Angry demonstrations — not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg — but in the remote far north province of Yakutia and in the poor, southern region of Dagestan, with women […]
1 day ago
This image released by Rambert Dance shows Conor Kerrigan, left, with fight director Adrian Palmer ...
Associated Press

TV hit ‘Peaky Blinders’ expands story through dance show

LONDON (AP) — Steven Knight looks astounded, almost lost for words. He’s just watched contemporary dance company Rambert run through scenes from the first act of their “Peaky Blinders” production, based on the hit TV show that he wrote and created. Watching the immediate connection between the dancers’ movements and the audience is a revelation […]
1 day ago
FILE - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, shakes hands with Serbia's President Aleksanda...
Associated Press

EU, US question Serbia’s EU commitment after Russia deal

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The European Union and the U.S. on Monday questioned Serbia’s proclaimed commitment to join Europe’s 27-nation bloc after Belgrade signed an agreement with Moscow pledging long-term “consultations” on foreign policy matters amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. Serbia’s officials signed the deal last week in New York with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Transgender deputy suing Georgia county goes to trial

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy returned to court Monday for a civil trial seeking monetary damages from the Georgia county that employs her after a federal judge ruled her bosses illegally denied the deputy health coverage for gender-confirmation surgery. Sgt. Anna Lange wants a jury to award her damages for emotional distress, attorney […]
1 day ago
Debris from destroyed cottages litters the ground at a cottage development in the French River area...
Associated Press

Canadian navy vessel headed to areas hit hardest by Fiona

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s defense minister said Monday that 100 soldiers have been deployed to each of three Atlantic provinces hit by former Hurricane Fiona and a navy vessel will visit the most devastated area of Newfoundland, where 76 homes were destroyed or structurally damaged. Defense Minister Anita Anand said the HMCS Margaret Brooke will […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Leading law school seeks to remove genocidal founder’s name