TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dean Chemerinsky To Decide Fate Of Boalt Hall Name At UC-Berkeley In November

UC Berkeley BoaltFollowing up on last week's post, Committee Recommends Removal Of Boalt Name From UC-Berkeley Law School Building Due To John Boalt's 1870s Anti-Chinese Racism:, Berkeley Law Is Deeply Divided on 'Boalt' Name, Chemerinsky Says:

The University of California, Berkeley School of Law has been known colloquially as Boalt Hall for decades, but that name could soon disappear from the Bay Area campus after information surfaced about the racist past of John Boalt—a 19th century California lawyer who pushed for the Chinese Exclusion Act.

A law school committee ... recommended the removal of the Boalt Hall name from one of the school’s four buildings and that other references to Boalt in student organizations and elsewhere be excised. (The committee did not recommend stripping the Boalt name from two endowed professorships, which would require the involvement of the California attorney general.)

The proposed renaming has touched a nerve with many on the law school community, some of whom refer to themselves as “Boalties.” We spoke with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky this week to find out what happens next and what he’s hearing from students and alumni. His answers have been edited for length.

What happens now? Do you have a position on the renaming?
What I’m doing now is receiving comments from people on the committee report, and then I’ll make a decision in November. The report came out Monday afternoon about 4 p.m. When I last checked my email this morning [Thursday] I had received more than 400 messages from alumni, faculty, staff and students, and I’m answering every single one of them individually. I’m going to wait to see what everybody has to say then think carefully about it and announce a decision. The committee has issued its report, and we’re now at the stage where I’m receiving comments so that I can decide what is the best thing to do.

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I guess the Chemerinsky School is too hard to pronounce?

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Sep 21, 2018 5:48:57 AM