“Deemed Inadvisable” The University’s Wartime Treatment of Japanese American Applicants

From May 1942 to September 1944, more than 180 Japanese Americans who sought to enroll at the University of Chicago faced wartime racial barriers to admission imposed both by the Federal Government and the University. A few Japanese Americans were eventually approved by military authorities and allowed to enroll, but most were turned away.

The process applicants followed was somewhat convoluted. Those who inquired were told the University was unable to directly admit Japanese Americans. The University did eventually take their applications after which (if academically qualified) students could become admittable contingent on permission from the military. If permission was received, the applicant then became cleared. Applicants who were both cleared and admittable were then admitted. After completing this process, which took up to two years, a Japanese American student could then enroll.