JACL Calls on USC

Instead of degrees for its WWII-impacted JA students, the Los Angeles-based private university awarded honorary alumni status.

By Pacific Citizen Staff
Published April 16, 2010

The JACL national board has passed a resolution urging the University of Southern California to award honorary degrees to its former Nisei students who during World War II were forced to discontinue their education because of the internment.

Over 100 USC Japanese American students were affected by with WWII internment, university officials have said. In 2008, the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association honored their former Nisei students during an April 25 scholarships and awards gala.

The university also awarded honorary alumni status to WWII-impacted Nisei students.

But the JACL national board resolution, passed unanimously at the April 9-10 meeting in San Francisco, Calif., calls the honorary alumni status “inadequate reparations.”

“The passage of this resolution is important to all Nisei students who attended USC and was forced to leave the institution due to Executive Order 9066,” said Kerry Kaneichi, JACL Pacific Southwest district governor.

Nisei students suffered extraordinarily because USC was the only West Coast university that refused to release their transcripts, which resulted in a disruption in their higher education studies, he added.

Many California universities and community colleges have either already awarded Nisei honorary degrees or have announced plans to host such ceremonies after the passage of Assembly Bill 37, which called on California State University, University of California and community colleges to award these degrees.

The JACL national board resolution calls on USC to “act with a particular priority on issuing honorary degrees to former Nisei students.”

“We believe that USC’s refusal to issue honorary diplomas is unjustified and hope that with the added backing of National JACL, these students will finally receive their honorary diplomas,” said Kaneichi.

Source: http://www.pacificcitizen.org/site/details/tabid/55/selectmoduleid/373/ArticleID/583/reftab/36/title/JACL_Calls_on_USC_to_Issue_Nisei_Degrees/Default.aspx

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