We recommend a box of tissues for this one:

In a somewhat belated but no less moving gesture, the UC Board of Regents is bestowing honorary degrees on about 400 Japanese Americans who, when forced from their schools into World War II internment camps, were never able to complete their University of California educations.

One such former student, 88-year-old Grace Obata Amemiya, accepted her UC Berkeley degree this past Thursday. The event marked the first time in almost four decades that the Board has given honorary diplomas—an act purposely avoided to ” help avoid political pressures or the appearance of favoritism.”

Favoritism our a**. Considering the circumstances in question (y’know … rampant racism; forced labor; a kind of horrific blight on our nation’s historical record), we think this is a quite worthwhile exception.

Image Source: p medved under Creative Commons
UC to award honorary degrees to interned Japanese American students [LA Times]

AVNevis said:
Jul 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Indeed. Not giving an honorary degree just because someone showed up to speak or did something cool is a great policy. But this certainly is not that, as they were all UC students whose education was unjustly discontinued against their will.

Ricardo Gomez said:
Jul 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Good to see the university do the right thing. Last semester I, members of the Cal Lobby Corps, and the Nikkei Student Union lobbied for AB37, a bill that would urge the Regents to do what they did last week as well as require that CSU do the same. If you’re interested about the bill:

I would say to call your representatives in support of it but it looks very likely to pass anyway. No one voted against it in the appropriations committees, which is the biggest hurdle.

Ricardo Gomez said:
Jul 20, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Good article clog :)