Bloomberg Law
Dec. 30, 2022, 10:30 PM

California Can Change Name of UC Hastings Law School, For Now

David McAfee
David McAfee
Staff Correspondent

A California trial judge tentatively allowed the state to change the name of UC Hastings College of the Law under legislation created in response to founder Serranus C. Hastings’ involvement in mass killings of Native Americans.

Judge Richard B. Ulmer of the San Francisco Superior Court on Friday issued a tentative order denying a preliminary injunction bid by descendants of the school founder who oppose legislation that would rename the school following an investigation that concluded Hastings had perpetrated genocidal acts against Native Californians.

The decision comes about three months after the group, including school alumni and Hastings descendants, sued the state and the school in an effort to block the school from being renamed “University of California College of the Law, San Francisco.”

The legislation was introduced after the college completed a three-year project to look into Hastings’ involvement in the mass killings of the Yuki Tribe in the 1850s.

Ulmer tentatively denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in the case, but allowed the parties to make arguments on both sides at a remote hearing Friday. Ulmer himself didn’t reveal the details of his findings at the hearing.

At the hearing, counsel for the plaintiffs signaled an intent to appeal the tentative ruling if it is finalized, while Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, counsel to the college defendants, said the court’s tentative ruling denying the bid for preliminary injunction is “exactly right.”

The parties also debated whether the agreement to name Hastings should be treated as a statute or a contract.

The court said a final order would be forthcoming the same day.

The plaintiffs are represented by Dhillon Law Group Inc. and Michael Yamamoto LLP. The school is represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

The case is Hastings College Conservation Committee v. State of California, Cal. Super. Ct., No. CGC22602149, 12/30/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Maya Earls at