Friday, September 21, 2018
Will Cal-Berkeley No Longer be Called “Boalt Hall?
Probably yes. From the ABA Journal:
In light of racist views held by 19th-century mining industry baron John Henry Boalt, a University of California Berkeley law school committee has suggested removing his last name from a campus building, as well as in internal communications and casual namings.
A Nevada attorney who came to California in the 1880s, Boalt wrote a piece the previous decade titled “The Chinese Question,” which argued in favor of preventing immigration from China because “Caucasian and Mongolian races are non-assimilating races,” and the Chinese were seen as inferior to white Americans. In his writing, Boalt also expressed negative views about blacks and Native Americans, according to the committee report released Monday.
After John Boalt died, his widow, Elizabeth Boalt, donated two parcels of San Francisco land valued at $100,000 to the law school in 1906, with instructions that the property be sold and the proceeds go toward a new building for what was then known as the School of Jurisprudence. A week later, the San Francisco earthquake occurred, and the school could only sell one parcel of land, notes Charles Cannon, Berkeley Law’s senior assistant dean and chief administrative officer.
Cannon also chairs the law school’s committee on the use of the Boalt name. He says the group determined that the original Boalt Hall name was philanthropic based on the gift, but when the law school moved to a new building in 1950, Boalt was part of honorific naming.
After her death in 1917, Elizabeth Boalt’s estate created two endowed faculty chairs, and there appears to be requirements to keep the Boalt name associated with those, Cannon says.
The law school stopped using the Boalt name in branding 10 years ago, in part because its former dean felt that the Berkeley name was more recognizable outside California, Cannon adds. However, he says that many still refer to the school as Boalt Hall, and the name is used in internal communications and in the name of some student group.
You can read more here.