Relocating Japanese American Students

"Relocating Japanese American Students." Education for Victory 1(14):2,24, September 15, 1942.

PDF version

Relocating Japanese American Students

Public officials, civic organizations, and other groups and individuals are cooperating with the colleges and universities in developing "an atmosphere of cordial good will" toward Japanese American students who are being relocated through services of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council. This Council was organized some 3 months ago at the request of the War Relocation Authority and with approval of the War Department.

The emergency evacuation from the Western Defense Area by the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) of all residents of Japanese extraction brought a total of approximately 100,000 individuals into assembly centers and then to more permanent relocation centers. This evacuation brought with it the sudden interruption of college and university studies or plans for between two and three thousand American-born sons and daughters of Japanese parents. The number includes not only those who were actually enrolled as undergraduates in West Coast colleges, but also high-school seniors intending to enter college, as well as those students planning professional or other graduate studies.

As a result of inquiries sent out to the accredited higher educational institutions, except those in the evacuated areas, more than 300 institutions indicated their readiness to enroll evacuee students. These colleges and universities have to be approved for relocation of students by both Army and Navy authorities. One hundred eleven had already been approved up to September 9.

Analysis of Questionnaires

Questionnaires were distributed among the assembly and relocation centers. Resulting from this, more than 2,000 such questionnaires were returned and are being analyzed by a committee of college deans, registrars, and personnel advisers. The rating of these questionnaires for recommendation to the colleges includes not only scholastic records, but also personality factors, professional goals, successful Caucasian contacts, and special talents or interests.

Analysis of the first 1,000 questionnaires, as reported by the committee, reveals the following information:

Male students are in the majority with 67 percent.
Ten percent of the total desire graduate studies, 67 percent the continuance of undergraduate work, and 23 percent are high-school graduates wishing to enter college.
As to religion, 69 percent are Protestants, 71 percent Buddhists, 3 percent Catholics, while 11 percent claimed no specific affiliation.
Twenty-five percent wish to study for some form of health service, i.e., medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, etc.; 17 percent are electing business, and 17 percent engineering; 5 percent prefer the social sciences; 5 percent prefer agriculture, etc.

It is stated in the latest report that the analysis of academic grade points indicates a general scholastic standing definitely above the average in the schools from which the evacuees came.

Only Japanese students of American birth and citizenship will be eligible for college enrollment. Noncitizens and those who have studied in Japan are barred. Each application for admission to a college will be considered on its merits. Entrance of students must be approved not only by college authorities but by Federal, State and local officials as well.

Reenrollment Progress

Arrangements had been completed up to August 25, for the reenrollment of more than 250 students, with many other reenrollments in process of completion.

The Council considers that the judicious placing of a few hundred carefully selected students with opportunity to demonstrate to the communities the safety and soundness of such relocation plans will lead to a development of tolerance and good will, and a greater readiness in the near future to accept additional students who should be permitted to continue their college or university training.

A Statement Regarding Program and Procedure was recently issued by the director of the Council, Robbins W. Barstow. The document, which carries approval of the War Relocation Authority, the U.S. Office of Education, the War Department, and the Wartime Civil Control Administration, is concluded with this statement:

"The National Japanese American Student Relocation Council seeks the full cooperation of all collegiate institutions, universities, graduate and professional schools, in making possible for as many of these students as may be, the continuance of their education for citizenship and useful community service. In this situation we find an exceptional opportunity to demonstrate the good will, the sense of justice, the respect for personality, and the recognition of character and achievement that are inherent in all our best traditions of American Democracy."