Honorary Degrees Only For Living Japanese Americans Forced To Leave USC During WWII Not Enough

COMMENTARY: USC must change course and award honorary degrees, not just to living Japanese American students who were forced to leave the campus during World War II, but also to those who have since passed away. USC should also apologize for its racist, unjust treatment of its Nisei students in 1942.

Unlike crosstown rival UCLA, USC has unjustly refused to award honorary
degrees posthumously to their former Japanese American students
who were forced to leave the campus during World War II.
Photo: Darrell Kunitomi

LOS ANGELES — Over the many years that the crosstown rivalry has existed, students and alumni of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and those at the University of Southern California (USC), have always gloated about their athletic teams (usually football and basketball), or which school is better.

Of course, much of the boasting is based solely on emotion-laden loyalties, without basis in fact, not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, loyalty to your school is a good thing.

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Japanese Americans Receive Honorary Degrees, 67 Years After WWII Internment Cut Short Their Studies At UC Berkeley

The following is from the University of California, Berkeley NewsCenter. It is reprinted here with permission.

By Cathy Cockrell, University of California, Berkeley NewsCenter
December 16, 2009

Yukio Kawamoto celebrates his
freshly minted UC Berkeley diploma.
Photo: Cathy Cockrell/UC Berkeley NewsCenter

BERKELEY, CA — Forty-two former UC Berkeley students now in their eighties and nineties have finally received the campus degrees they had been working toward nearly seven decades ago, when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps in the midst of World War II.

In a special ceremony during the traditional December convocation on Sunday, December 13, 2009, the elderly Japanese Americans accepted their honorary diplomas. Mounting the stage in Haas Pavilion’s cavernous basketball arena, some with the help of canes, they sat in two long rows of chairs, wearing mortar boards, gowns, and blue-and-gold leis of origami cranes fashioned by local school children.

For 78 additional Japanese Americans now deceased or too infirm to attend, family members accepted diplomas in their honor. Read more of this post

University of California To Grant Honorary Degrees To Japanese American Students Forced to Leave UC Campuses During WWII

The following is from a press release by the University of California.

OAKLAND, CA — On July 16, the University of California Board of Regents voted to grant special honorary degrees to hundreds of men and women forced to leave their studies at the University of California as a result of the imprisonment of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II in American concentration camps. Read more of this post