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Confronting the Legacy of the Human Betterment Foundation at Caltech
November 21, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Human Betterment Foundation was a pro-eugenics think-tank operating in the 1930s and early 1940s out of Pasadena, California. Its aim was to influence public and medical opinion in favor of sterilization of “socially undesirable elements”: disabled, poor, and racialized people. Many board members had ties to Caltech, most notably Caltech’s then-president Robert Millikan. Upon the HBF’s disincorporation following its founder E.S. Gosney’s death in 1942, the HBF’s financial assets were given to Caltech and its records were placed in the Caltech archives.
Please join us for a brief presentation by Jane Panangaden and collective discussion on the recent activism by Caltech students aimed at bringing the HBF’s activities to light and pushing the Caltech administration to make changes on campus. These changes include both symbolic recognition in the form of renaming buildings which previously honored HBF board members, to material changes such as improvements to students’ health insurance plans and financial support for racially minoritized scholars.