VKC Name Change

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Rufus Bernhard Von KleinSmid was the president of the University of Southern California from 1921 to 1946. The Von KleinSmid Center, the home of International Relations and Political Science, is named in his honor. Dr. Von KleinSmid was instrumental to establishing the Institute of World Affairs at USC and founded the school of international relations in 1924. During his tenure, he successfully got more people to attend the University as enrollment increased 160% during his presidency.

Dr. Von KleinSmid was also known for his prominent role in the eugenics movement. Eugenics was a movement that advocated for improving the human race through selective breeding. This included forced sexual sterilization and extermination of certain groups deemed undesirable. Dr. Von KleinSmid co-founded Human Better Foundation. This organization was an American eugenics foundation established in Pasadena, California. Before WWII, Fritz Lenz, a Nazi German eugenicist, worked with the Human Better Foundation to write a textbook about eugenics. The science that was first developed in California, with the help of Dr. Von KleinSmid, played a prominent role in the eugenics movement in Nazi Germany. Currently, Dr. Von Kleinsmid's biography on the USC website does not include his role in the eugenics movement.

Several universities are beginning to recognize the significance of historical building names. Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University and University of Oregon are among schools in the process of renaming buildings on campus named after people with controversial ties to slavery and racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. This survey is created in order to find information from USC students in renaming the VKC center.

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