California Gov. Newsom OKs name change for law school founded by racist

The University of California’s Hastings College of the Law rebrands as the College of the Law, San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A prominent law school in San Francisco named for a 19th-century rancher who sponsored deadly atrocities against Native Americans has a new name after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation approving the change.

It was among several bills concerning indigenous people that the Democratic governor and former San Francisco mayor signed into law on Friday, which he declared “Native American Day” in California.

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 on March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The University of California’s Hastings College of the Law will be known as the College of the Law, San Francisco. The school’s graduates include former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

The school was founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings, a wealthy rancher and former chief justice of the California Supreme Court who helped orchestrate and finance campaigns by white settlers in Mendocino County to kill and enslave members of the Yuki Indian tribe.

The legislation also lays out restorative justice initiatives to be pursued by the college, such as renaming a law library with a Native language name, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Newsom also signed legislation to remove an offensive term for a Native American woman from all geographic features and place names in the state. The U.S. government has removed the offensive term from nearly 650 geographic features, renaming hundreds of peaks, lakes, streams and other geographical features on federal lands.

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