The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Board of Trustees yesterday voted 6 to 1 to approve the renaming of the university’s John Marshall Law School.
Starting July 1, the law school will be known as the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law.
A legacy of racist views and actions rendered Marshall “a highly inappropriate namesake for the law school,” according to a report produced by a task force on the name, which incorporated views from students, faculty members, staff members and alumni.
John Marshall served as the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835. He is recognized as playing a key role establishing the Supreme Court as a powerful third branch of U.S. government, helping to cement foundational principles like judicial review, separation of powers and co-equal branches of government.
Marshall was also a slave owner and trader. He blocked dozens of slaves from securing their freedom during his 34-year tenure as chief justice.
“The university has arrived at this new name following a thorough and carefully studied process that included input from all corners of the institution and beyond, considered issues of racial injustice and aimed to ensure that our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported and advanced,” said Michael Amiridis, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago, in an online statement.
The University of Illinois at Chicago acquired the formerly private nonprofit law school in 2019. It is now the only public law school in Chicago.