Berkeley Reveals Details of Eugenics Fund

October 27, 2020

The University of California, Berkeley, on Monday both revealed and renounced its long-standing Genealogical Eugenic Institute Fund, according to the Los Angeles Times. The fund was shared with public health faculty members as a source of available research money as recently as 2018. Disturbed by the idea that Berkeley was promoting a fund associated with a discredited and fundamentally racist science, some professors lodged a complaint, and the fund was frozen and investigated. Berkeley found that the eugenics fund was established by a family trust called the Rogers Family Foundation 1960 and transferred to the University of California system in 1975. The first documented expenditures were in 1987.

The Times reported that Michael C. Lu, dean of the School of Public Health, in a campus memo asked for feedback on renaming or repurposing the fund. There is no evidence that Berkeley used the money for eugenic research, he said, but rather for a genetic counseling training program, among other uses. Even so, by “accepting and using these funds over the past four decades, we must acknowledge that Berkeley Public Health has been a part of this horrific legacy of eugenics and its disastrous impacts,” Lu wrote. “It was wrong then. It is wrong now.”

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