A “Rally for USC Nisei” is being planned for Friday, May 11, the day of USC’s commencement ceremony.
During the ceremony, USC will grant honorary degrees to Japanese Americans who were forced to leave the university in 1942 due to Executive Order 9066. Those who have since passed away will receive honorary alumni status but no posthumous degrees.
Rally organizer Jon Kaji, president of Kaji & Associates and a USC alumnus, said, “It's time to send a clear message to the USC Board of Trustees and administration. Come out and protest the decision to limit USC honorary degrees to only the few Nisei still living — and to insult the memory of those Nisei who have passed on.”
Protesters will be on the northwest corner of Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard from 6 to 8:30 a.m.
Kaji, who has posted an announcement of the rally on Facebook, said that the protest will be called off if the administration reverses its decision before Friday.
“No word yet,” he told The Rafu Shimpo on Monday afternoon.
Students will line up for the commencement at 8 a.m. The processional will start at 8:30 a.m. and the ceremony at 9 a.m.
Recipients of baccalaureate honorary degrees are: Iwao George Kawakami, Yoshiteru Gary Kikawa, Yutaka Kody Kodama, Yuri Hirooka Kumai, George Mio, Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi, Hitoshi George Sameshima and Frank Takashi Tofukuji. Ryo Munekata will receive an honorary master’s degree.
Posthumous honorary alumni certificates have been confirmed for John Masato Fujioka, Iwao Allen Harada, Tadashi Ochiai, Richard Otagaki, Takako Saito, Tommy Minoru Tanaka and Roy Hideo Yamamoto.
For more information on the ceremony, visit www.usc.edu/dept/pubrel/specialevents/commencement/Nisei.php.