Harvard Law School just decided to drop its slave-owner honoring seal

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After lobbying from students, the Harvard Corporation voted yesterday to change the official seal used by Harvard Law School.

The shield, which has been in use since 1936, features the family crest of Isaac Royall, a slave owner and one of the founders of the law school. Last year the school set up a committee to review the shield, and last week sent recommendations to the Harvard Corporation governing body that it no longer be used.


“We cannot choose our history but we can choose that for which we stand. Above all, we rededicate ourselves to the hard work of eradicating not just symbols of injustice but injustice itself,” law school Dean Martha Minnow wrote in an email to the school community after the announcement.


"This amazing. My diploma won't bear the crest of the Royall family. Sounds minor but that means so so so much to me," wrote one student on Twitter.


Students at the school have been occupying a student center in protest of what they say is deeply ingrained racism, both in classrooms and on campus. The administration has said they will appoint a director of engagement and equity and conduct a "climate survey" of diversity, measures the students say don't go far enough.

On the undergraduate campus, Harvard recently voted to drop the use of the title "Master" to refer to the academic heads of student houses, given the term's allusion to slavery.