The Harvard School of Law has approved a measure remove its seal because it contains the crest of a onetime slave-owning family, The Harvard Crimson has revealed.
The decision comes a week after the Harvard Law Committee released a report suggesting that the seal should be abandoned.
The current shield derives from the family crest of Isaac Royall, Jr., “whose bequest to the College in 1781 was used to create the first endowed professorship of law in the College in 1815.”
Royall reportedly “derived his wealth from the labor of enslaved persons on a plantation he owned on the island of Antigua and on farms he owned in Massachusetts.”
— The Harvard Crimson (@thecrimson) March 11, 2016
Harvard President Drew Faust and Corporation Senior Fellow William F. Lee then wrote to the committee to approve the recommendation.
“Following a review of the committee report, the ‘different view’ conveyed by Professor Gordon-Reed and Ms. Rittgers, and your own memorandum, the Corporation agrees with your judgment and the recommendation of the committee that the Law School should have the opportunity to retire its existing shield and propose a new one.”
“You should feel free to discontinue use of the shield as soon as you see fit, and we will look forward to receiving your eventual recommendation for a new shield, ideally in time for it to be introduced for the School’s bicentennial in 2017,” the letter reads.