Harvard University has decided to drop its famous law school emblem after a handful of students said it was racist because it was tied to an 18th-century family of slave holders.
The Harvard Corporation, the body that governs the university, voted in favor of a Harvard Law School committee recommendation to drop the seal. Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, told the dean of the law school, Martha Minow, he approved the idea, Reuters reported.
The emblem has been around since 1936. It shows three sheaves of wheat with the motto, “Veritas,” the Latin word for truth, scrolled across the top.
The image comes from the coat of arms used by the family of Isaac Royall, a man the media paints as the son of an Antiguan slaveholder – who was also the endower of the first law professorship at the university, Reuters said.
The university denied it was revising history.
“While we accept the request to change the shield, we do so on the understanding that the school will actively explore other steps to recognize rather than to suppress the realities of its history, mindful of our shared obligation to honor the past not be seeking to erase it, but rather by bringing it to light and learning from it,” Faust said, Reuters reported.
She said the law school hopes to have a new seal in place by 2017, for bicentennial celebrations.