KINGSTON -- The Queen's University Faculty of Law is launching a "formal consultation process" to determine whether Sir John A. Macdonald's name is appropriate for the law school's building.

The law school building on the campus of Queen's University in Kingston is named the Sir John A. Macdonald Hall. Macdonald lived and worked in Kingston and was Canada's first prime minister. He also played a key role in creating the residential school system.

A petition has been launched to change the name of Sir John A. Macdonald Hall to Patricia Monture Hall, a Queen's alumna and a Canadian Mohawk lawyer. Monture passed away in 2010. As of Thursday afternoon, 4,000 people had signed the petition.

A committee consisting of students, faculty, staff and alumni will conduct the consultation process on whether Sir John A. Macdonald's name should be associated with the building. The name of the building will also be considered by the law school's faculty board.

Queen's University's Dean of Law will present a report and recommendation regarding the name of the building to the Queen's University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane in late August. Deane will consider the recommendation and formulate his own recommendation for the Board of Trustees in time for its September meeting.

"Given his role in the formation of Canada, there was good reasons to honour Sir John A. Macdonald when the building was named in 1960," said Mark Walters, Dean of Law at Queen's University.

"But the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has brought greater public awareness to Macdonald's negative legacies, in particular the development of the Indian residential school policy in Canada."

Walters says if the Queen's Board of Trustees decides to "de-name" the building after Macdonald, then a separate process regarding a new name will begin.