News

New program honours Japanese Canadian students of 1942

The first students to register for a new minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies will begin classes in September 2014. The program was created as part of a tribute to Japanese Canadian students who were unable to complete their university studies when they were forced to leave the West Coast in 1942.

Seventy years later, in May 2012, UBC awarded degrees to the 76 Japanese Canadian students affected by this injustice. As part of the tribute, UBC committed to creating a new program for students to learn about the discrimination faced by Asian Canadians throughout the country’s history.

The new minor program, created with the involvement of the Asian Canadian community, includes mandatory classes in history and film production. Students will use film to share the stories of Asian Canadians who were affected by policies that led to the Chinese head tax, internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, and the Komagata Maru incident, which marks its 100th anniversary this year.

Story sources:

Henry Yu
Associate Professor, History and Principal of St. John’s College
Tel: 604.822.8799
Email: henry.yu@ubc.ca

For more information about the program, visit acam.arts.ubc.ca

 

Honorary Degree Ceremony for Japanese Canadian Students of 1942

Event:  Media opportunity with Japanese Canadian UBC students of 1942 and Honorary Degree Ceremony

Media opportunity

Date/Time:  11 – 11:45 a.m., Wednesday, May 30

Location:  St. John’s College, Fairmont Social Lounge
2111 Lower Mall
For a map, visit: www.maps.ubc.ca/?822-1
Parking available at the West Parkade

Honorary Degree Ceremony

Date/Time:  4 – 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 30

Location:  The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
6265 Crescent Rd.
For a map, visit: www.maps.ubc.ca/?130
Parking available at the Rose Garden Parkade

Webcast:  The ceremony will be webcast live and begins 15 minutes prior to the ceremony. To access the webcast, please visit: http://www.graduation.ubc.ca/ubc-vancouver/live-webcast

Assignment/Photo Editors:
A
media feed will be provided in the Chan Centre but media must provide their own wireless transmitters and adapters.

Videos:
High-resolution video clips of interviews with UBC President Stephen Toope, former student Mits Sumiya, and community member Mary Kitagawa are available for download and use by media. To download the videos, right-click the links below and “save link as…”

Interview with UBC President Stephen Toope: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4035790/jcst-videos/INTERVIEW_SELECTS_UBC_PRESIDENT.mp4

Interview with former student Mits Sumiya: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4035790/jcst-videos/INTERVIEW_SELECTS_MITS_SUMIYA.mp4

Interview with community member Mary Kitagawa: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4035790/jcst-videos/INTERVIEW_SELECTS_UBC_MARY_KITAGAWA.mp4


A special ceremony will be held during UBC’s spring congregation to recognize and honour the Japanese Canadian students whose university experience was disrupted in 1942 when they were uprooted and exiled from the B.C. coast – a violation of their citizenship rights.

In advance of the ceremony, some of the former students will be available for interviews during a media opportunity. Mary Kitagawa, a community member who led the campaign to recognize the students, and UBC spokespeople will also be available for interviews at that time.

Following the media opportunity, Vancouver City Councillor and UBC professor Kerry Jang will read a proclamation on behalf of the City of Vancouver.

Later that afternoon, media are invited to attend the honorary degree ceremony for Japanese Canadian students of 1942.

For more information, visit: http://japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca

-30 –

UBC launches community-developed program as part of tribute to Japanese Canadian students of 1942

As part of UBC’s efforts to recognize Japanese Canadians affected by internment in 1942, the university is asking the Asian Canadian community to help guide the creation of an interdisciplinary program that will highlight the contributions of Asian Canadians and examine anti-Asian racism that produced events like the forced removal of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

The new Asian Canadian Studies minor program in the Faculty of Arts was announced by Dean Gage Averill at Addressing injustice: UBC’s Response to the internment of Japanese Canadians students, a symposium held by the University to explore its own role and response to the internment of 76 Japanese Canadian students in 1942.

“The goal of the Asian Canadian Studies program is to learn from anti-Japanese and anti-Asian racism and discrimination in our history so that future generations can engage better in issues of justice, equity and inclusion,” said Averill. “Our commitment in the Faculty of Arts is to help nurture our future citizens and leaders so that they can strive to build a more tolerant and just society.”

The program will be developed by an advisory committee made up of faculty, students and community members.

“We will consult and listen to those both on and off campus who have a stake in this program so that it will reflect a genuine engagement between UBC and the communities it serves,” said Henry Yu, the UBC professor who is leading the community consultation for this program.

“Students should learn about the events of 70 years ago through the lives of those who endured the racism and discrimination, and through the actions of those who spoke out and stood up against injustice.”

In November 2011, the UBC Senate unanimously approved three measures to recognize and understand what happened to Japanese Canadian UBC students in 1942. These measures include recognizing the students with honorary degrees, preserving and bringing to life the historical record of that time, and developing initiatives to educate future students about this period in history.

Once the details for the proposed program are created out of community consultations, the Faculty of Arts will present them to the UBC Senate for final approval.

The initial framework for the program will be multidisciplinary, with courses in history, literature, sociology, and other departments in the Faculty of Arts, as well new interdisciplinary courses with a core element of community engagement. The intention is to begin a process of community consultation this spring in order to make the program available to students beginning in fall 2013.

For more information about the tribute for Japanese Canadian UBC students of 1942, please visit: http://japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca

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Japanese Canadian students tribute: Symposium and honorary degree ceremony

Event:  Addressing injustice: UBC’s Response to the internment of Japanese Canadians students – a symposium to examine UBC’s role and response to the internment of 76 Japanese Canadian students during the Second World War, and how those issues resonate today

Date/Time:  Wednesday, March 21, 5 – 8 p.m.

Location:  Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
Lillooet Room, 3rd floor
1961 East Mall
For a map, visit: http://www.maps.ubc.ca/?516

Details:  Symposium includes a speaker program and video featuring six Japanese Canadians who were UBC students in 1942. For more information, visit: http://japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca/

Video: A video of the symposium, is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkR4PSs4WU


Seventy years after Japanese Canadian UBC students were forcibly removed and exiled from the B.C. coast, UBC is examining its own role in this injustice with a symposium.

Although the Canadian government implemented the internment policy, the role and responsibility of UBC regarding its Japanese Canadian students remains an uncomfortable question. Many U.S. universities protested the inclusion of Japanese American students in the forced removal, tried to place their students at other universities or supported the completion of their degrees during the internment.

This was not the case at UBC. Even before internment, Japanese Canadian students in the university’s Canadian Officers Training Corps (C.O.T.C) had their commissions stripped by the university’s Senate Committee on Military Education. Two UBC faculty members, Henry Angus and E.H. Morrow, were among the few who
spoke out against the injustice.

The symposium, Addressing injustice: UBC’s Response to the internment of Japanese Canadians students, seeks to answer questions about what happened 70 years ago and address about UBC’s responsibility. Participants will also examine related ethical issues that still resonate today.

A 15-20 minute video featuring the stories of six Japanese Canadians who were UBC students in 1942 will also be shown. The symposium will conclude with an open discussion.

Symposium speakers include:

  • Mary Kitagawa, an active member of the Japanese Canadian community who led the campaign for UBC honorary degrees
  • Stan Fukawa, community historian, will speak about what life was like at UBC for Japanese Canadian students before the war
  • John Price, University of Victoria history professor, will speak about the larger contexts for the forced removal of Japanese Canadians in 1942
  • Henry Yu, UBC history professor, will address issues of justice and responsibility both in the past and present and why an awareness of history is a crucial element of citizenship and civic participation for all Canadians

To register for the symposium, please contact: equity@equity.ubc.ca For media inquiries, please contact: Heather Amos at heather.amos@ubc.ca; 604.822.3213 (office) or 604.827.3867 (cell).

For more information, visit: http://japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca/

SAVE THE DATE

Honorary degree ceremony for Japanese Canadian students of 1942

Date/Time:  Wednesday, May 30, 4 p.m.

Location:  Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
6265 Crescent Road
For a map, visit: http://www.maps.ubc.ca/?130

A special ceremony will be held during UBC’s spring congregation to recognize and honour the Japanese Canadian students whose university experience was disrupted by internment in 1942.

Honorary degrees will be conferred on the students who were unable to complete their education when they were sent to internment camps in 1942. In addition, degrees will be re-conferred on the students who completed their studies but missed their graduation ceremony because of the internment.

For more information, visit: http://japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca/the-ceremony/

UBC to recognize Japanese Canadian students affected by internment during World War II

The University of British Columbia Senate voted tonight to honour students and Canadians affected by a dark period in Canada’s history, and will be awarding them special degrees next spring as part of a three-pronged program to mark the 70th anniversary of the internment policy.

“The University has taken seriously the need to find meaningful ways to provide solemn recognition of historical events,” says Sally Thorne, professor of Nursing and Chair of the UBC Senate Tributes Committee, which established a working group on the matter.

“To acknowledge the 70th anniversary of the provincial internment policy in the spring of 2012, we want to pay tribute to UBC students and others impacted during this time, and also take steps to help future students learn from the past,” said Thorne.

The UBC Senate Tributes Committee’s working group has been reviewing the issue since the fall of 2010, consulting with members of UBC and Lower Mainland communities in order to ensure UBC’s recognition is thoughtful and enduring.

The Senate voted on three measures:  to award special degrees to the estimated 76 UBC students whose studies were disrupted by internment; to develop initiatives to educate future UBC students about this dark episode in its history; and to have the UBC Library preserve and bring to life the historical record in its possession.

“We have heard from members of the Japanese Canadian communities through letters and discussions,” says Thorne. “The University is deeply grateful for the feedback we have received, and we hope that our tribute will consolidate the strong relationship between UBC and the Japanese Canadian community.”

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