Paul L. Caron

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Hastings Descendants Dispute Law School Name Is Racist. They Want The Name Kept — Or A $1.7 Billion Payout

San Francisco Chronicle, Hastings Descendants Dispute Law School Name Is Racist. They Want the Name Kept — or a $1.7 Billion Payout:

UC-Hastings (San Francisco) (2022)Days after Gov. Gavin Newson signed a bill to reverse an 1878 law requiring that UC Hastings College of the Law forever keep its founder’s name — or the state must repay descendants $100,000, plus interest — six family members sued on Tuesday to get their money back.

If California persists in removing Hastings’ name from the law school on Jan. 1, the interest rate would be an annual 7%, family and supporters said Tuesday at a press conference outside San Francisco Superior Court.

After 144 years, California would owe Serranus Hastings’ descendants more than $1.7 billion, The Chronicle calculated. That’s a lot of money, even if it were split among countless Hastings descendants. But the family members who filed the lawsuit said they’d be happy just keeping the name “Hastings.”

Their suit accuses the state and the Hastings directors of breaching the 1878 contract and seeks an injunction to stop the name change. One of the Hastings directors is himself a great-great grandson of Hastings, and voted this summer to get rid of the name. The suit rejects the claim that the founder was a racist who sponsored massacres of Native people. It says that unless the state keeps the name, it must pay up.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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