Letter from Robert O'Brien to President Wilkins dated April 11, 1942. Correspondence Series, 2/7 Ernest H. Wilkins, Box 58, Nisei folder, Oberlin College Archives.


April 11, 1942

President Ernest Hatch Wilkins
Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio

Dear President Wilkins:

Registrar McClane of Whitman College phoned me an hour ago regarding an Associated Press news story crediting me with saying that Oberlin College and fourteen other inland colleges would accept American-born Japanese students.

The facts of the case are these: We held a meeting of Nisei students at which the problems and restrictions on continuing education were discussed. A newspaper reporter looking over the enclosed survey asked if the colleges listed in item 5 would accept Japanese-Americans. I replied that most of them would, but with restrictions. It is this list which eventually found its way into the news-story, which was not offered us for checking.

We appreciate your willingness to cooperate with us, and with Army authorities in the problems of student relocation. We are working on the list of four students whom you said you would be in position to accept. In cases where substitutions may have to be made, I am checking possible substitutions in two cases, and will probably be able to discuss these persons with you personally, as I will likely be in Oberlin the week of April 27.


Robert W. OBrien
Assistant to the Dean


AP Newsclipping dated April 11, 1942. Correspondence Series, 2/7 Ernest H. Wilkins, Box 58, Nisei folder, Oberlin College Archives.

Colleges Reply to Relocation Inquiry on American-Born Evacuees

SEATTLE, April 11 (AP) -- Professor Robert W. O'Brien, chairman of the student relocation committee of the University of Washington, announced today that sixteen inland colleges had notified the university, in response to an inquiry, that they would accept American-born Japanese students who must leave the Pacific Coast.

Army authorities, he said, already have gone on record as being in favor of further education for high school seniors and college students because of their potential value after the war in reuniting the nation's Japanese and Caucasian groups.

The institutions listed as having replied favorable included the following colleges: Minnesota, Michigan, Chicago, Oberlin, Ohio State, Iowa State, Earlham (Indiana), Yankton (South Dakota), and Grinnell.