UC Berkeley

‘Boalt' Name Removed From UC Berkeley Law School Due to Racist History

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley has removed the "Boalt" name from its law school, the result of a years-long process initiated when it was discovered John Henry Boalt was a racist and bigot, campus officials said Thursday.

It's the first time in the university's history a facility's name has been removed due to a namesake's character or actions, the university said.

In 2017, a Berkeley lecturer discovered the racist writings of Boalt, a 19th-century Oakland attorney, and officials said such views go against the university's principles.

Boalt made racist statements and led a move in California to end Chinese immigration. Those views "are obviously abhorrent and antithetical to who we are as a law school," UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinky said.

UC Berkeley’s Building Name Review Committee, which reports to Chancellor Carol Christ, heard a proposal from Chemerinsky and received additional campus feedback before voting in October to recommend the name’s removal. The committee's decision then was approved by Christ and UC President Janet Napolitano.

Charles Reichmann, a lecturer at Berkeley Law, discovered Boalt's racist writings in the Bancroft Library in 2017.

Boalt Hall will now be known as The Law Building, the university said. The law school complex includes three other buildings: Simon Hall, North Addition and South Addition.

Contact Us