Cal Poly honors interned Japanese-American students

June 13, 2010

Courtesy of LA Japanese Daily News

A small, but important, and certainly long overdue, ceremony took place last week at Cal Poly as President Warren Baker awarded 31 honorary degrees to Japanese-American students who were forcefully relocated from the West Coast in 1942. [LA Japanese Daily News]

The Cal Poly ceremony was the last in a series of events as part of the Nisei Diploma Project, which was approved last September by the CSU Board of Trustees, in response to legislation from state Assemblyman Warren Furutani.

There were six ceremonies throughout the state. Only 4 of the 31 students eligible to receive the Cal Poly degree were able to attend; another 7 had family members accept their diplomas from Dr. Baker. About 75 people attended the ceremony.

Baker had a decidedly negative view of what took place during World War II. He said that the honorary degrees were a small way in acknowledging a “huge mistake” while stressing the point that the incarceration was based upon “racism.”