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Exigencies of War — The UW Administration and Student Relocation

A black and white picture of the campus

In the official history of the University of Washington, World War II disrupts campus life but briefly as war bonds are sold and graduates join up.1 Nothing is mentioned of the tumultuous months after Pearl Harbor when the University of Washington came to the aid of its students of Japanese ancestry.

Under the leadership of UW President Lee Paul Sieg and other administrators and faculty, the university's response to the situation of Nisei students can be viewed as two distinct phases. Phase I, from December 1941 through February 1942 (prior to Executive Order 9066 and Public Proclamation No. 1), focused on appeasing the uncertainty of students and meeting their immediate needs. Phase II, from March 1942 through May 1942 (after forced evacuation became inevitable), focused on establishing means of relocating students and fostering their transfer to other universities and colleges. During both phases the University of Washington moved with astonishing alacrity for an educational institution in trying times.

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