SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Last week, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of the UC Hastings College of the Law. The man it was named for did things that were hardly laudable and there are those who are asking why it took so long.

The school is named after Serranus Clinton Hastings, the first Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. But he has another title as well: that of “mass murderer.”

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Hastings owned a cattle ranch in Round Valley in Mendocino County in the 1850’s and wanted land that the Yuki Indian Tribe was living on. So he simply paid to have 283 men, women and children murdered.

“They even submitted bills to the Legislature to be reimbursed for their ‘expenses’ in carrying out these killings,” said SF attorney John Briscoe. “This is the history of California and, sorry to say, we need to teach it.”

Briscoe was once an adjunct professor at the law school, but in 2017 he exposed Hastings’ past in an op-ed article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I simply wanted the story told, that this man was a mass murderer,” said Briscoe. “I mean we don’t have University of California Josef Mengele Medical Center, do we?”

But, for the next five years, the school stuck with the name until a New York Times article last month laid the whole story out, implying that Chancellor David Faigman wasn’t interested in making a change.

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In a statement, he denied that, saying, “There is no effort from me or the College to oppose a name change. My commitment is to do what we can to bring restorative justice to the Yuki People…and other indigenous communities who were affected by Serranus Hastings’ horrific acts.”

But Mona Oandasan, a member of the Round Valley Yuki tribe said they have not actually been included in any talks with the college. They issued a tribal statement saying, “It is shameful that the school leadership did not act on its own accord, but instead only acted when the spotlight was shined on it by the news media.”

Serranus Hastings paid the State 100 thousand dollars in gold coins to start the law school with the condition that it be named for him. So, because it’s written into law, it will take a vote of the Legislature to actually make a change.

UC Hastings College of the Law is a prestigious law school, and there are concerns from students about what switching names might mean for them.

“Name recognition is a lot, so if we were to change our name people would be like, oh, what law school do you go to? So, it definitely poses a problem,” said student Raye Leatherwood. “But the name isn’t everything, so we’ll figure it out.”

Briscoe says he’s not concerned about the new name, but that there should be no question it needs to be changed.

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“We’re going to name things after people like that?” he said. “I mean, just to ask the question answers it!”