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USC to apologize to Japanese Americans during WWII

The University of Southern California will formally apologize for blocking the ability of Japanese Americans to continue their education after World War II, reports the Los Angeles Times.

USC refused to recognize any course work Japanese American students completed before being herded into incarceration camps during the war. Instead students returning after were told they would have to start over.

The school also refused to release their transcripts so they could find other universities to study at after an executive order forced Japanese Americans to leave the West Coast.

This is in contrast to other universities, according to Inside Higher Education. UC Berkeley and other campuses sent letters to other campuses across the country urging them to accept their displaced students.

The Hill reports USC alumni has been urging the university to apologize for its actions. Last year the Academic Senate supported the effort and USC law students issued a report entitled Forgotten Trojans

The report documented 121 Nisei students registered at USC. Some voluntarily reported to concentration camps, others involuntarily went. When rules loosened to allow students to attend schools outside the West Coast, USC refused to assist their students in their efforts and took action to make going to another school impossible.

Dr. Lewis Ford of the School of Dentistry took the position that releasing transcript would be akin to aiding the enemy. The report said USC President r. Rufus von KleinSmid took a similar position.

According to the Times, von KleinSmid has since been disgraced for a legacy of eugenics support, antisemitism and racism.

“This is a stained part of our history,” said Patrick Auerbach, USC associate senior vice president for alumni relations said to the Times. “While we can’t change what happened in the past … the university can certainly still do right by their families and let them know that we are posthumously awarding them honorary degrees so that they can occupy that place in the Trojan family, which they deserve.”

The push for an apology began in 2007.

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