CSU trustees pass honorary degree bill
September 23, 2009 9:40 AM
California State University board of trustees approved of a bill Wednesday morning that would grant bachelor degrees to individuals who were removed from CSUs from 1941-43 due to their Japanese heritage.
Assemblyman Warren T. Furutani, who is a fourth-generation Japanese American, addressed the board in Long Beach Calif., to have the bill, known as AB 37, recognized.
"Hundreds of students were removed from colleges and universities, forced to delay or abandon their dreams based solely on their ancestry," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
Executive order 9066, issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, required the immediate removal of all people of Japanese decent and placing them in internment camps because of World War II.
"They went through the process to get into CSU's as part of the American dream and that dream was taken away," Furutani said.
The bill was passed without opposition and the first honorary degree posthumously went to Aiko Nishi Uwate, who was removed from SF State. Her degree was accepted by her daughter Vivian Uwate Nelson.
"It is difficult for me to stand up her and represent my mother when she was such as amazing woman," Nelson said. "I want to thank San Francisco State for this and for honoring her in the Garden of Remembrance with a plaque."
Furutani said the bill is intended to provide healing for individuals and their families and will hopefully begin mending the wounds that were inflicted almost 70 years ago.
The CSU is encouraging other individuals to inquire about receiving their degrees by contacting (562) 951-4723.
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