UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health Disavows Eugenics Fund It’s Used Since 1987
UC Berkeley’s public health school disclosed the existence of a eugenics research fund it has kept since at least 1987, The Los Angeles Times reports. The Genealogical Eugenic Institute Fund, started by a private family trust in 1960 and later handed over to the UC Regents in 1975, was later taken over by UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. The fund’s original purpose was “the improvement of the human race through research and education in that field generally known as eugenics,” according to Berkeley bioethics professor Osagie K. Obasogie, who learned of the fund in 2018. On Monday, public health dean Michael Lu asked for feedback on potentially renaming or repurposing the fund, as well as other avenues of public apology and reconciliation. “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 in a faculty-wide email. “It was wrong then. It is wrong now.” The fund was used in the mid-’90s for a genetic counseling program. Since 2000, it has granted about $1 million in non-research expenditures like financial aid, student and staff support as well as conference travel expenses.