Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Time.

It's time to mobilize and stand up. Students, I said it time and time again, we owe it to ourselves to stand up for this university. Now is the time to be heard and show the State and the community the importance of our university and what it means to us.

A rally has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at the State Capitol.

ASUH Rally Protest Student University of Hawaii

Facebook Event:

Meet at Bachman lawn at NOON. Free shuttle buses will leave at 12:15 and will be leaving at staggered times throughout the next few hours of the rally.

Our purpose is to create a tipping off point to lobby for a reduction of State-imposed budget cuts to the University of Hawai‘i System. We are asking legislators, "How much higher education does Hawaii need?" and "How much can it afford?" At the same time, we are stressing the importance of UH to us, as well as to the State's workforce and economy.

The total amount of budget restrictions facing the University of Hawai‘i system is at least $154 million over a span of the next two years.

Without a reduction of these cuts, UH's function as a driving force for Hawai‘i's economy will continue to be undermined, and Hawai‘i's premiere institution for higher education will inevitably be crippled and diminish in its capacity to foster a competent workforce and future leadership for the State of Hawai‘i. Furthermore, within the next couple of months, this amount is likely to increase.

If you don't care to read through my past posts, students already feel the effects as core classes and even majors are being cut, thus making it increasingly difficult for students to earn their degrees. 150 lecturers have lost their jobs while 500 classes have already been cut. Of the classes that remain, many are over capacity.

For students about to graduate, the value of our degrees are on the line. This is unacceptable and we need to stand up and do something about it.

The State must show that it holds education as a priority. Along with a $50 million dollar allocation of funds to the public school system in order to offset furlough days, the University of Hawai‘i, as part of a p-20 public education system here in Hawai‘i, is in dire need of an alleviation of our budget restrictions as well.

Contact, call 956-8422, or walk-in to the ASUH office at Campus Center 211A if you would like to know how you can get involved.

We are currently looking for students from all districts around Hawai‘i that will be able to speak with their respective State Senators about why they chose UH. We also welcome all faculty or community members that would like to get involved as well.

Students, you owe it to yourself to be heard and help save your University. Be there, and get involved today

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Call for Solutions.

I was delighted by the overwhelming feedback from the email blast I sent out last week entitled. “ASUH – Response to UHM Faculty vs. Administration.” I would be lying though, to say that I was prepared for the hundred or so passionate replies I received during the following couple of days.

The response from students has been inspiring, and for the most part, responses from faculty and administration have actually been surprisingly pleasant as well. Both entities seem to understand where ASUH coming from as student advocates.

[caption id="attachment_820" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="Over 11,000 strong."]Over 11,000 strong.[/caption]

The main purpose of the message was to clear any misconceptions about ASUH having a stance on the issue. The message was also intended to inform and empower students to recognize ourselves as the hugely powerful political entity we are.

So what's next?

1) ASUH has set up a public meeting next Tuesday October 27 4:45pm, to discuss possible solutions to restore UH's budget. Students and faculty members are welcome to attend if they would like to present any ideas or would like to hear our proposals. ASUH will then present ideas to Senator Jill Tokuda, State of Hawaii Chairperson for High Education, during a subsequent meeting.

2) ASUH is also in the process of passing a resolution “urging the governor to rescind the fiscal restrictions to our University system” (where the majority of the cuts were made). This reso will be followed up tremendously from a variety of angles.

3) ASUH will continue to meet with key legislators to help generate or divert funds to the UH system for the upcoming legislative session starting January. ASUH has come up with numerous ideas and has been exploring other methods of lobbying and possible protests.

ASUH has been meeting and collaborating with both members of Faculty Senate and Administration here at Mānoa, and although disparities concerning certain issues are inevitable, we are establishing a common ground to move forward together.

We must settle any minute, personal, and often irrelevant disagreements and unite our University community. Together, the voices of tens of thousands of voters will surely leave an impression on the decision makers of our State.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mobilization and Empowerment

A Ka leo Article on the Event:

At first, I was a little skeptical on the purpose of the "teach-in" and the intentions of faculty members and "Preserving Hawaii's University" in their attempt to mobilize students. (Please refer to a former blog post)

Some media coverage:

After I met with the planning committee the afternoon before the event, I agreed to speak at the event to stress student empowerment and the importance of our university system from a local, leadership standpoint. "Preserving Hawaii's University" seemed tolerant of most viewpoints, at least of students, surrounding the UHPA contract and didn't put too much effort in persuading them to stand against the contract. Fortunately, they instead focused on the noise the event will make and the ball of activism it will get rolling. They organized an awesome event that really set the tone and paved the way for students and faculty to become informed and be heard. Thank you faculty and grad students!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Students Finally Get a Say in Budget Cuts!

Last Tuesday, a great thing happened.

When top UHM executive administrators agreed to attend a high profile ASUH General Meeting to give a presentation on the prioritization process, the response from students was tremendous. For the most part, they were excited for an opportunity to FINALLY be able to have their questions answered and their voices heard.[caption id="attachment_805" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="KHNL did a great story that night from the students\' perspective. Click to watch the video."]KHNL did a great story that night from the students' perspective.  Click to watch the video.[/caption]

Our guests included UH Mānoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs Fransisco Hernandez, and Vice-Chancellor Reed Dasenbrock of Academic Affairs who agreed to answer any questions for at least an hours time. This was a extremely rare opportunity, as it was the chancellor's first public appearance to specifically address the budget situation to students.

[caption id="attachment_792" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="We requested that Chancellor Hinshaw come to speak to students and respond to their concerns. Click for news video."]We requested that Chancellor Hinshaw come to speak to students and respond to their concerns.  Click for news video.[/caption]

A little bit of background information surrounding this meeting:

Since the beginning of my term at ASUH, we've been pushing for more student involvement in the prioritization process and any decisions made by administration regarding the State-imposed budget cuts. I have met with various executive campus administrators over the summer and, until last week, ASUH was considering passing a Senate Resolution expressing its:

"objection and deepest concern to the lack of transparency and student representation of the numerous committees regarding the prioritization and budget reorganization processes."

We weren't being heard, and administration wasn't being transparent. We had to do something about that. (See my previous post on this issue for more detail)

Leading up to Tuesday, the meeting was highly publicized (within the three business days we had to prepare) to empower students get them excited about its purpose, as well as to hold administration accountable for its decisions and answers.

[caption id="attachment_798" align="aligncenter" width="396" caption="The meeting was open to students, the public and media. The response was great!"]The meeting was open to students, the public and media. The response was great![/caption]

ASUH had to make sure that the meeting was well-controlled so that administrators felt comfortable and the pace of the meeting allowed for a variety of students to be have their concerns addressed. Although not every student who attended the meeting was allotted time to ask their questions, it seemed as though most bases were covered. If the administrators couldn't provide an adequate answer, they at least exhibited an honest expression of their shortfalls and mistakes in dealing with the University's budget crisis.

At times, ASUH had to be a little more assertive and dynamic in its questioning than initially imagined, but in the end we made sure to get what we sought after:

The administrators agreed to hold further meetings with students for increased transparency and granted our request of two student seats on the Budget Process Committee to help make the final decisions. Mahalo to all of the students who showed up, and to the ASUH Senate for all its hard work!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And Here Comes the Faculty...

In the midst of extensive budget cuts to our university by the State, I have been continually encouraging a wave of activism from the student population, community, and any other stakeholders who would want to be a part of a movement to protect and preserve Hawai‘i's education and encourage the development of future leaders.

A great opportunity has arisen to for students and faculty to come together and possibly create a massive boom...

[caption id="attachment_771" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="KITV4 News, September 18, 2009: Leaders of UH Professors Oppose State\'s Last Offer"]KITV4 News, September 18, 2009: Leaders of UH Professors Oppose State's Last Offer[/caption]

During my Comparative Politics class today, the professor opened up by highlighting a current university issue concerning the nature of faculty and administrator "negotiations". The professor drew a parallel between our university's multi-leveled autonomous bureaucracy and that of tyrannic rule under a certain, well-known dictatorship.

He has been a faculty member at a number of universities including one in Asia, but insists that he has never seen such a unique and hegemonic administration like that of UH.

(I asked if he has been aware of UH's structure before our system's administration was granted autonomy by the State of Hawaii during the mid-nineties, and if he was aware of how our campus was "administrated" before the creation of 78 new executive positions just a few years ago under President Dobelle's term. He said he would like to learn.)

My guess of why the subject of administrative hegemony was brought up was because of a certain bitterness my professor may possess in regards to a recent proposal being "unilaterally imposed" by administration: to cut UH faculty pay by 15%.

It is nice to see some spark finally igniting some major resistance from faculty to the originally State-imposed cuts, but let's not forget and overlook the fact that a few years back, faculty did receive a huge salary increase while students received a similar tuition increase. Before choosing to take on a particular stance, students should be sure to know what the consequences will be of their efforts . We need to realize that as ASUH (the Student Body), we stand alone and must remain autonomous in our decisions. We should hesitate to offer diplomatic assistance with initiatives moving towards collective goals, but we must refuse to be used as another entity's pawn: whether that be administration or faculty.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="Will we be seeing some of this again? From Star Bulletin Archives April 5, 2001"]Will we be seeing some of this again? From Star Bulletin Archives April 5, 2001[/caption]

But let's just hope faculty and administration can see eye to eye, because students can't afford to have faculty go on strike. Hopefully, I will be able to meet with various faculty leaders to discuss any collective goals between students and faculty and possibly establish a vehicle in which students and faculty could move forward together.

Friday, September 11, 2009

TIM School/Shidler College Merger

Craig Gima's Article in the Star Bulletin-11/10:

Students' voices must be heard, even if going to the media is the only way to get a response. Please note that nothing in this blog post depicts a stance on the merger, nor represents a consensus of ideas reached by the 97th ASUH Senate.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="George Hall, the home of the Travel Industry Management School at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa."]George Hall, the home of the Travel Industry Management School at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.[/caption]

The proposed merger between the School of Travel Industry Management and the Shidler College of Business has been a hot topic of discussion over the course of the past few months. However, little to no student input has been sought by administration concerning this and many other of our University's most pivotal decisions -- decisions that effect us the foremost in the midst of this budget fiasco.


Past ASUH President, Jamie Sohn of the 96th senate, was allowed to sit on a preliminary process committee for the Chancellor during last school year. These meetings ended in early January. Once the prioritization actually began with actual dean recommendations, new committee's were formed with no student seat being made available.

Throughout the spring and the summer, and two budget/advisory committee's later, many decisions began moving forward without direct input from students. Faculty and some dean's also had concerns about not being considered in the process, as the Chancellor's advisory committees always seemed to consist of a team of the same select few individuals.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Shidler College of Business--building E from courtyard."]Shidler College of Business--building E from courtyard.[/caption]

Four months ago, shortly after I was elected into the office of ASUH President, I met with both the Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs and the Chancellor our Mānoa campus herself, during separate meetings, to inquire about why no students are being involved in the prioritization process and budget recommendations. (See also my response @8:30 to Hinshaw's answer to a question regarding the prioritization process on PBS Insights with Dan Boylan)

I asked that if any additional meetings are held, a student representative such as myself be given a seat. I also asked for a more transparent approach to remedying our budget gaps, and that an open-forum by the administration to students, sponsored by the Chancellor's office, be held on campus during the start of the Fall semester.

An open-forum event was set-up , but I haven't received an adequate answer to the remaining inquiries. I did, however, leave the meetings under the slight impression that the prioritization process was over and that if any final decisions were to be made, a student voice will be directly involved. That hasn't happened.

And look where we are at now! An outcry from both faculty and students has been brought forth subsequent from a recent email announcement from the Chancellor stating that the committee opts to:

"Merge smaller units with larger, related schools/colleges to strengthen impact and economize on administration. The committee supports the reconsolidation of the School of Travel Industry Management with Shidler College of Business to enhance UH Mānoa’s service to the tourism industry in Hawai‘i and strengthen the impact of TIM’s significant ties to the business economy. We will develop criteria for organizational structures that best support faculty/staff/students and maximize resources to examine schools with low critical mass."

From looking at and comparing the statistics of the respective schools with others, it isn't consistent that the TIM school fits under the category of "with low critical mass". It doesn't seem the case the education and value of their degree will improve for students, under the merger. Students worry that under a new school, their degree won't be as effective and their extremely high employment rate directly after graduation (partial due to the TIM school's extensive required internship hours) may be reduced.

Furthermore, adequate transparency hasn't even been achieved between administrators. After meeting with the dean of the TIM school, it surprised me that she knew only as much about the details of the proposed merger as I did from the Chancellor's side.

This somewhat contradicted the statement that VCAA Dasenbock made during a meeting with me in the beginning of summer when I asked about the process of the prioritization. To paraphrase: now that recommendations have made their way up through our redundant bureaucracy, they will be brought back to the Dean level of administration where student input will be considered. The latter hasn't happened, at least not yet.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Hawai‘i Hall, campus administration building."]Hawai‘i Hall, campus administration building.[/caption]

I understand both sides of the argument concerning the merger and it isn't necessary, at least not yet, for me take a side. But it IS my duty to make sure students' voices are being considered.

1) Within the next week, after I meet with various student leaders involved with the merger controversy, I will write letters to the respective executive administrators raising concern about lack of student involvement in the process.

2) I will request a time line on when these decisions will be finalized. I will also inquire and suggest, since meetings have been on-going and it is most likely too late for a student seat, how administration willreach out for student input.

3) I will entertain a Senate Resolution to be drafted and passed by ASUH, whether taking or not taking a stance on the issue, addressing our concern for a lack of administrative transparency and student involvement during the prioritization process.

4) If no adequate response is received in a reasonable amount of time, I'll make sure we are heard one way or another (having local T.V. and newspaper contacts on hand is a great thing).

It's unfortunate that so much tension is occurring between students and executive administration, but this could have all been avoided with initial transparency and accessibility and adequate communication between administration and students as the prioritization process was unfolding.

I recognize administration's claim that any and all of these plans of actions are "preliminary" and that all entity's involved will have their concerns considered in the final decision, but I will not pass up on looking into any truth behind the rumors that the merger is already being pushed forward.

Students, as the greatest stakeholders, should have been a part of the "preliminary", most extensive portion of the prioritization process. Any last ditch efforts of reaching out to students (i.e. a single meeting with student leaders after extensive deliberation has already been made) is appreciated but doesn't suffice in aquiring student input. Many students may view such actions as a mere nominal and political formality.

I will first try to be a mediator between the two groups and hopefully we can resolve tension by finding a compromise or a design that synthesizes both viewpoints. If this cannot be achieved, I will be sure to represent and lift up the student voice, first and foremost, no matter what position that may put me in with administration.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Noticing the Effects of University Budget Cuts

It's a new school year. And you can see the changes: classes, cafeterias, sidewalks, and campuses in general are more saturated with students then any time I witnessed over the past 3 years.

Mark Kaniela Ing ASUH KITV

With approximately 60,000 students enrolled at University of Hawaii campuses this Fall -- a 10.7% percent increase from last Fall and the most ever -- it's apparent that the community is seeing the University as part of the solution to our State's economic struggle.

But this isn't necessarily a good thing for students as 150 instructors laid-off and 500 class sections placed on hold, there has been an increase of competition to get into the remaining courses. In large lecture halls, students are resorting to sitting on stairways. Some commuting students are being forced to arrive on campus hours before class starts, sleeping in their cars, just to secure a parking space.

[caption id="attachment_638" align="aligncenter" width="509" caption="With a 120 student enrollment, and more trying to get it, this accounting section of the course has twice as many students as last year."]With a 120 student enrollment, and more trying to get it, this accounting section of the course has twice as many students as last year[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_638" align="aligncenter" width="509" caption="Some lecturers who survived lay-offs had their salaries reduced to $12,000 for teaching two classes, while numerous administrators executives are sitting pretty with salaries at over a quarter million."]admin[/caption]

Although other media outlets did publish and broadcast a few stories concerning our University throughout the week, I would like to commend KITV4 news for obtaining exclusive coverage on some issues, and for their extensive updates of our University in featured news stories throughout there first week of classes. They were on campus for 4 separate stories over the course of the first 3 days! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Honolulu Advertiser as well for continuing to seek out student input, and contacting ASUH, for virtually every story regarding our University.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Spirituality as a means to Religion

BEFORE, you say anything...

I realize that it probably isn't the best political move for me to post my viewpoint regarding such a sensitive subject on a public forum. I do not, however, intend to give off any of my personal beliefs nor aim to influence any persons to a particular set of beliefs (If you would like to spark that conversation, send me an email!). In this post, I only intend to encourage critical thinking and open-mindedness -- not to be skeptical of any particular belief-set, or a lack of one, but to question the motives behind why people become involved in a religion, and whether being born into one is a sufficient reason to stick with a doctrine.

Besides, this blog isn't in fact a purely political one, as its theme is rather universal as long as it's focus is on leadership within the up-and-coming generation. Admittedly though, this post IS far from the "here is the issue, and this is what I am doing about it, or this is what I think what ought to be done" structure of most of my posts. It also deviates from my usual musings of Hawaii politics and higher education. And honestly, I am not even sure if my haphazard rant, that is this post, will make any sense to you readers out there in the blogosphere!

Last month, a friend updated his Facebook status to read:
"Religion tends to be something that divides us to the point where we can't fix the bigger problems."

This was a provocative statement to say the least, and it quickly elicited quite a few responses. Of course, as the skeptic, but more importantly as the spiritual being that I am, I was obliged to add my two cents (...or dollars) as well:

"Agreeing with *the Facebook User above*, religion at least somewhat aids in alleviating our bigg'est' problems that empiricism and humans in general cannot possibly explain.

But I must also assert that organized religion poses the same problems as any other large institution: the group becomes greater than the individuals it consists of when people begin to seek identity through conformity. Individuals within the religion are then motivated to remain faithful to their institution by confounding reasons such as shame or acceptance rather than the reason stated in the doctrine.

Moreover, organized religion creates an in-group/out-group ("them and us") mentality that may undermine the crux of the purpose and doctrine of the religion or religious sect, which usually consists of positive messages of harmony among people.

The key, regardless of the basis of your belief system, is spirituality and faith at an intimate and very personal, individual level. While deciding if a religion is suited for his or herself, one should first seek out a general, spiritual, and personal connection before following any specific doctrine or even becoming too involved with any religious fellowship. Spirituality ought to remain a tool that could eventually lead a person into a particular religion, but not visa-versa. Let the religion grab you. Religion can suffice as a director of an existing spiritual journey, but not as the means to achieve spirituality. The latter instance is where the problems associated with religion, as an institution, usually occurs.

BELIEVE! we are so small."

All I am asking you to do is to think about the initial italicized statement and formulate your own response, as did I:

Yes, religion does seem to keep problems from being remedied and often causes greater ones. But is it the existence of religion that divides and disillusions us from finding solutions to our "bigger problems", or is it the obscure and often confounding motivation behind followers' devotion to each institution?

Words Worth a Thousand Pictures

In a changing society of rapidly advancing technologies, where even television sometimes doesn't provide a conveniently direct enough relayer of information, it is easy for some of us to lose interest in the MOST revolutionary, pervasive, and thus-far effective method of learning and retrieving important information: reading.

Given, we live in a fast-paced world and lead extremely busy lives. And if you are anything like me, you don't have the time to flip through and thoroughly read every page of your local morning paper. Nor will you make use of the investment of numerous magazine or national daily news subscriptions that may only be utilized as packing material or a rag for cleaning windows in future (in case you don't know, newspapers are great at minimizing streaks!)

Here's what I do:
1) Subscribe to a weekly periodical
(my favorite is "The Economist") - most offer ridiculous student discounts and allow you to receive all of your important current events for the week in a single sitting.

2) Utilize a weblog feed reader
(my favorite is Google Reader) - syndicate RSS feeds from daily news websites (,,, etc.), where you can usually specify which section or topic. At the same time, you can subscribe to blog feeds as well to cater more to your specific interests or to get a more juicy, opinionate take on current events. When using a feed reader, you can give up checking every site individually for updates. Instead, updates will come to you all at one place, where you choose what to read and what to leave.

3) Don't rely on television for national news; LOCAL is fine, especially in Hawai‘i!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption=""Allow this to be the last consumer decision you will ever need to make!""]Allow this to be the last consumer decision you will ever need to make![/caption]

So, besides the believed hypnotic, manipulative, and additive qualities that are the usual concern over its excessive usage...
Why not television?

At 30 fps, an hour long television program broadcasts a total of 108,000 still pictures! So, if a "picture is (really) worth a thousand words," then an hour long television show should provide us with an equivalent to 108 millions words, or 432,000 pages...yeah, i don't think so.

Of course, I don't mean to be that wag that points flaws in idioms that are obviously not created to be taken completely literally! The only point I'm trying to make is that maybe pictures are only valuable when being completely absorbed or read with focused attention not characteristic of watching TV. Perhaps, what is needed is a sort of brain activity similar to reading a book, or even better, surfing the web! Even non-educational, "leisure" reading can stimulate and encourage new connections of neurons to increase intelligence, maybe even more effectively than "educational" television broadcasts.

Furthermore, news broadcasts on television are so full of celebrity gossip, inter-network politics and biases, that it takes a substantial effort to filter any substance through all of the shenanigans. So, make the right choice, and don't forget to use a Reader if you don't already!:

Wow Terry, a little much?!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Aloha, President Greenwood!

Yesterday, a "Hawaiian Protocol" ceremony was held at Kanewai Lo‘i with a reception that followed at Hawai‘inuiākea to welcome a new president,M.R.C. Greenwood, to our 10-campus University system. It was a rather intimate gathering consisting primarily of college deans and administrators from around the Mānoa campus, along with some kūpuna and other event hosts from the Native Hawaiian community at UH Mānoa.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Kanewai Lo‘i-- the primary portion of the ceremony was held within this hale. It was such a beautiful location!"]Kanewai Lo‘i-- the primary portion of the ceremony was held within this hale.  It was such a beautiful location![/caption]

I was invited as a member of Greenwood's immediate "entourage" and as one of the four speakers of the afternoon. Leading up to the event, I barely had time to sit down and craft out a speech. But even if I did, I doubt it would've came along.

To be completely honest, during the presidential search process and after the withdrawal of the only other finalist Robert Jones, I wrote a statement to the Board of Regents requesting that an interim-president be appointed while the search continues.

In regards to the ethics controversy which got her released from her last position and the fact that we already have a chancellor from the University of California System (I didn't want our premiere public University for the State of Hawai‘i transforming into a "UC Hawaii" satellite campus!), I didn't feel that Greenwood was quite right for the job.

I also didn't agree with the idea of offering extremely high salary incentives and spending over a million to conduct a nation-wide search would find the most competent leader.

For one, the University of Hawai‘i is situated in one of the most unique and diverse places in the world and experience from other University systems doesn't necessarily carry over. There are so many 30-40 year veterans within the UH system who would've took a lower salary and wouldn't have had to admit to having "a lot of learning to do" and adjust to getting situated within the culture of our wonderful state.

Secondly, the whole idea of having a separate system President and flagship campus Chancellor seems fruitless. Streamlined bureaucracy was more efficient during the pre-autonomy days of UH Mānoa back when the Chancellor of Mānoa and the system president was combined into a single position--especially since the State had a stake in controlling the exuberant salaries of UH administrative executives.

[caption id="attachment_527" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="University of Hawai‘i System President M.R.C. Greenwood"]University of Hawai‘i System President M.R.C. Greenwood[/caption]

However, I do realize that besides the ethics allegations and lack of experience, none of these concerns fall upon Greenwood herself. And I was actually very surprised and delighted by the humility Greenwood exhibited throughout her appointment, by not holding a sort of "big fish, small pond" mentality that many out-of-state leaders hold when transferring to Hawai‘i.

She seemed very genuine and open to embrace both Local and Native Hawaiian culture here in Hawai‘i. It wasn't hard to see that she was completely overwhelmed by the amount of Aloha she has received throughout her first week on the job.

So the task was this: make use of this opportunity as a speaker to get my point across, among the many witnesses, without coming off as a whiny student or angsty Hawaiian. I wanted my 3-5 minutes to be memorable and tried to avoid cliche as much as possible.

Other speakers had well-written speeches which they read straight off a paper; these speeches were beautiful but quick to be forgotten. I also had a few talking points written down on a small card. But once I was off and going, 30 seconds into my speech, I decided to tuck it away in my pocket and speak straight from the na‘au.

From what I remember, I spoke on UH's commitment to its host culture and the purpose of the newly established Hawai‘inuiākea, primarily regarding its importance and contribution to education as the greatest means to preserving and advancing Native Hawaiian culture.

I asserted how I like to think that I represent many students not because of my position on student government, (or because I am 50% "Asian", 25% "Pacific Islander", and 25% Caucasian/Hispanic!) but because of my story. After mentioning how UH is the only university that I seen myself happy at, the most realistic option financially, and how it had transformed me to who I am today, I was sure to note that it is important not to overlook UH's purpose of fostering future leaders and competent workers for the State of Hawai‘i.

Whether or not I stepped over the line as a student, or even as a speaker at a welcome ceremony, my words seemed to be well-received. I was fortunate to have been able to later carry a heart-felt conversation with President Greenwood during the reception that followed where she mentioned to me that the warmth in welcoming she has been receiving from students has been amazing.

The event was a wonderful one, and just the vibe alone was unlike no other. I met a lot of amazing people and won't soon forget it. I'm sure that neither will the new president.

President Greenwood's openness and humility was greatly appreciated, and I hope she continues to embrace both the Native Hawaiian and local communities here in Hawaii. I look forward to working along side this new leader in the spirit of progress and benefit for the students of the University of Hawai‘i.

I hope she can prove herself and live up to her nearly $1,000,000/yr Salary (including living allowances)! E kipa mai e Greenwood.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

50/50th Statehood Confusion celebrate 50 years of the 50th "state".

In a recent post in his blog "Volcanic Ash", David Shapiro quipped away:
"The rest of the country took note of our muted observance of the 50th anniversary of statehood. Only in Hawai'i do we celebrate statehood in a state of confusion about whether we want to be one."

[caption id="attachment_463" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="From the, Saturday 8/22"]From the, Saturday 8/22[/caption]

Well, only in Hawaii is statehood still being challenged. With concern leading up to this day spread across an abundance of political organizations and at virtually every level of government, it is pono that the commemoration should at least have representatives from as many sides of the issue as possible and present each with an ample time to express their point of views.

That almost happened.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Even the commemorative stamp was contraversial; check out the weightedness of the ‘okina."]Even the commemorative stamp was contraversial; check out the weightedness of the ‘okina.[/caption]

The evening before the conference, I was reading a metaphoric, "Peanuts" video clip blog post regarding the Akaka Bill on He Hawai‘i Au, a very well-inspired and qualified local blog. I decided to leave a comment stating how much I enjoyed the post and included a link to my stance on the Akaka Bill.

Just a few hours later, I received an email and was invited by Dr. Trisha Kehaulani Watson, the author of He Hawai‘i Au, to attend the 50th Statehood conference really at the very last minute. She offered to pay for my entry expenses and also contacted the moderator Keahi Tucker and organizer Kippen De Alba Chu from KGMB for a chance for me to sit on stage as a panelist to discuss the Akaka Bill along side with herself and other prominent Hawaiian leaders of her generation and even those from one or two before!

I used to think I was born at least 30 years too late (my twenties in the 80's), but it's really amazing what the magic of blogging (21st century technology) can do a young person trying to get connected! This opportunity would put me somewhere that I would like to be 10-15 years from now. Not only would i have been the youngest panelist, but also the only steadfast proponent of the bill: the pressure was on.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="578" caption="The stage on the 4th floor of the Convention Center where the panelists were featured."]The stage on the 4th floor of the Convention Center where the panelists were featured.[/caption]

I arrived early, although a little later than expected, after a should have been planned for delay with The Bus. Before the event began, I wanted a chance to establish connections with and really just to talk story with many of the leaders who have been an inspiration for me since my time in Kamehameha Schools. I also got to catch the ending of a large anti-Akaka Bill/Statehood protest happening outside of the convention center, and enjoyed some of the kī hōʻalu entertainment downstairs.

Then for the actual panel discussion and televised event. First, the Ceded Land video wouldn't play, even after an attempt to stall and second attempt: is this a sign? Further complications in technical difficulties resulted in the program being truncated from an hour and a half to an hour, cutting off any chance of further input from planned speakers in the audience such as myself! To make matters worse, as soon as the discussion started picking up, Governor Lingle steps up, walks over to Keahi Tucker, and improvidently speaks for a few minutes thus cutting short the entire segment. Censorship?

Despite not being able to be heard on such an effective public forum during a once in a lifetime milestone, the awesome pupus, hearing so many different points of views on issues I am passionate about, and getting to meet many of my heroes made the event well worth it. In future, I'm sure there will be many other chances to step up, now just wasn't the time. Mahalo, Kehau!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Google Offers Free Campus Email.

A TIME magazine article from last Friday 8/14:
"Google and Microsoft: The Battle Over College E-Mail"

"When Notre Dame hired out their e-mail to Google last year, the school saved $1.5 million in storage and other tech costs"

I feel extremely fortunate to have stumbled upon this article while searching for a distraction from studying for a summer final. I had no idea Google offered this free service and am especially excited for its potential to actually save our University some operating funds! I already forward my UHmail to Gmail and love every aspect of it--especially the "Labels" (the automatic filters are very convenient) and "Calender" (along with "tasks", saves my life)...and "Themes" are always fun!

Google "Labs" is also constantly coming up with improvements. Recent features include an improved Gtalk Instant messaging function connected to your automatically updated address book, and an "undo send" option!

[caption id="attachment_343" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="The color scheme and "sky" actually changes with the time of day and weather...I check my email at least 30 times a day, I just want to be comfortable when I do!"][/caption]

I requested for an UHmail increase in my personal bandwidth allowance, from 100mb-250mb but even that is still not nearly enough for myself and many college students. Google, on the other hand, offers close to 74gb (7,359mb).

For UHM student readers, I'm scheduling a meeting with ITS next week to discuss this initiative.

Monday, August 17, 2009

B-Cycle® Bikesharing in Honolulu

First, watch this video or check out this awesome website! Learn what bike-sharing is all about and why its popularity has already took off around various European cities and Universities across America.

A few months ago I stumbled upon this article from last December while inquiring about whether or not bike-sharing is appropriate for UHM:
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="CLICK PICTURE FOR ARTICLE
The initial layout of the proposed bike-sharing system in Honolulu"]The initial lay-out of a European-style bike-sharing system in Honolulu[/caption]

Yes, this article is outdated. Unfortunately, after receiving the "go ahead" and funding for most of the Downtown area and Waikiki, this project got held up at tangle of bureaucracy on our campus.

I begun a dialog in the beginning of the summer with the B-cycle's Hawaii affiliate, Momentum Multisports Hawai'i and the various relevant departments around campus to discuss stations being set-up in UHM. As of then, the pilot has been moved to Kailua.

Momentum Multisports Hawaii CEO Nguyen Le came to speak to our executive committee and our Chairperson for Student Affairs, Eve Millet. Her committee has decided to take spearhead this initiative and are currently in the process of gathering student support/opposition for this project.

For UH Students, their are additional benefits to convenience and health. My thinking is that this system in conjunction with the Rail Transit System, the $20 U-pass and Zipcar, incoming students will be discouraged to bring personal automobiles to campus. This will, in turn, help alleviate parking and reduce our University's carbon footprint for a more sustainable Honolulu. Ideally, I would like to see this system include FREE access for students, 3 stations on campus, and an integration of UH ID cards.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="497" caption="Solar-powered stations take up the area of one parking space and feature a dozen heavy-duty, theft and damage deterrent, bicycles for immediate check out."]Solar-powered stations take up the space of one parking space and feature six heavy-duty, theft and damage deterrent, bicycles for check out.[/caption]

Let me know any suggestions you may have! If any funding is needed by Administration, we would need to see strong student support in order for this initiative to move forward.

Fortunately, after attending a meeting with Le, a few of his colleagues, and UHM Auxiliary Services, an agreement was made stating that if Momentum Multisports secures funding ($40,000/station) for a station on UH, a pilot project from Lower Campus to Waikiki will be given the go-ahead. If successful, this project could be extended throughout the city as initially intended.

I also floated this project by Chancellor Hinshaw during a meeting, and she surprisingly said that she would've supported the use of UHM as a pilot project if it was presented directly to her: she had no idea about it. Her main concern was the City of Honolulu's street safety for cyclists (Hawaii is currently ranked 22nd out of 50 states), but which fortunately is being taken seriously by both the city and the state and huge steps are being made.

Click here for more details on the City's planned bike-friendly improvements.

I'll keep you updated on this initiative as progress is made. In the meantime, feel free to shoot out any ideas or testimony you may have! (

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Zipcar® Carsharing in Honolulu

As a student of a very large, though mostly commuter university, I have always wondered if a car-sharing system would be a suitable here at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. I have read success stories on "Zipcar" implementation at hundreds of Universities nation-wide, but wasn't completely sure if it would be an appropriate initiative for our campus and its current fiscal situation.

Can we at least afford a small pilot program? If the service is successfully established here on campus, it could be expanded into the city and eventually across the island!

In the 90's, car-sharing started off as a rather far-fetched idea, but quickly grew into a world-wide success over the past decade. Zipcar is the leader of the industry and currently has 6,500 vehicles in operation worldwide.


Basically, Zipcar is a membership, car-rental service which charges users either per hour ($8) or per day ($66) for use of a vehicle--gas and maintenance included. It is a rather high-tech and convenient system that could really help alleviate parking problems, create a more sustainable environment, and promote student freedom here at UHM. With over 30,000 University members to date, Zipcar estimates they have taken about 12,000 personally owned vehicles off of University campuses.

Faculty and surrounding community members could utilize the service in addition to our 20,000+ students. As a replacement of our current fleet of state automobiles, Zipcar could help alleviate the current budget crisis our campus is facing. Members may also enjoy their membership while visiting any of the other 26 states or 120+ college campus with Zipcar.

More information can be found at:

After Chancellor Hinshaw let me know that car sharing was something that she has thought about supporting for our University, I decided to look into it and contacted Zipcar.

Last month, I received a call from the national account executive or Zipcar, Robert Lynch. After speaking for a half hour or so to lay out the groundwork of the scale and purpose of the type of program that would be appropriate for our campus, he drafted a proposal which the ASUH has been reviewing over the summer.

[caption id="attachment_326" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles. "]Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles [/caption]

Personally, I feel as though this is something that may work out during our current financial situation since Zipcar, as a private company is liable for most risks of the program. But I would also like to see a pickup truck included in the proposal and not JUST the uber-gas-efficient small cars; they are awesome to be included, but not definitely not sufficient for North Shore weekend ventures!

Once our University is established as a successful pilot, Zipcar could also be expanded into the community of Honolulu and help de-congest our streets. We could start a movement here, just let me know how you feel about this initiative. With student support and unity, we'll make this happen!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Akaka Bill: A Needed Step

Recently, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009 S1011/HR2314 (commonly known as the "Akaka Bill") has been receiving some revitalized attention from the media because of a certain supporter in the White House and an awakening of the bill in congress. The bill has been around for nearly a decade in numerous forms but has never exhausted the legislative process.

Unlike Former President Bush, who strongly opposed the bill and claimed that, if passed, it "would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege," President Barack Obama, a proven civil rights leader who truly understands diversity, has promised to sign the Akaka Bill if it reached his desk.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="473" caption="Longtime Senator Daniel Akaka, one of TIME Magazine"] Daniel Akaka, Voted into the worse 5 senators of all time...maybe, but not if this bill passes.[/caption]

From the Rice-vs.-Cayetano case of 2000 to the John Doe-vs.-Kamehameha Schools case that ended on a sour, high-tension settlement, legal attacks on cultural-based programs in Hawaii are becoming increasingly apparent. One negative precedent established by any of these anti-native rights court cases could bring an abrupt end to the limited programs in Hawaii that protect these rights.

Native Hawaiian rights include, but are not limited to living on the native land, living by its people’s own law, and receiving reimbursement for what was wrongfully taken upon “discovery”. Hawaiians had most of these rights stripped from them when their kingdom was illegally overthrown over 100 years ago.

As a people, Hawaiians now struggle with alarming rates of disease, poverty, incarceration, drug-addiction, and homelessness. In order to receive compensation in the future for America’s past transgressions—whether it be absolute independence or goals set on a smaller scale—Hawaiians must protect what is existing today; the Akaka Bill is the most feasible means of achieving this.

There is no question in whether or not America’s participation in the events of 1893 relating to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom was wrongful. In 1993, a joint resolution known as the Apology Bill was passed through the United States legislative and executive systems. In this resolution, President Bill Clinton admits and apologizes on behalf of the American people for its alleged role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

So, Americans recognized its wrongdoings but did nothing to right their mistreatment of the Hawaiian people. Nonetheless, the Apology Resolution did create a pathway for future acts of compensation.

The Akaka Bill was created by Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye to step up to the next stone. The bill seeks to achieve for Native Hawaiians the same federal recognition and right to self-governance that many Native American tribes possess. Additionally, the bill was set up to establish the groundwork (cooperating with OHA's "Kau Inoa") for a “nation-within-a-nation”—separate from the State of Hawaii.

There are both Hawaiian and Non-Hawaiian opposition to the Akaka Bill.

Non-Hawaiian Akaka Bill detractors typically believe that the bill is unconstitutionally race-based because of the blood-quantum requirement as an element of becoming a citizen of the nation. To counter this opposition, if the Akaka Bill is based on the precedent of the cases of Native-American tribes in the past, then how can it be labeled unconstitutional? If it was constitutional in the cases of American-Indian tribes, then it should be constitutional now; it’s virtually the same case.

The Hawaiian detractors of the bill address numerous arguments: blood-quantum is an American originated system (unjustifiably presuming that the new government will be established in an oppressive blood-quantum system similar to the Hawaiian Homesteads Act); the Akaka Bill doesn’t grant ideal governing power; the February revision is missing the restrictions and limitations such as a prohibition on gambling casinos, a prohibition on taking land into trust to create "Indian country", and a prohibition on claims against military lands; and above everything else, the bill doesn’t at all increase independence from America.

Although in many ways valid, these arguments aren’t arguments against the bill at all. The Akaka bill doesn’t necessarily defy or even weaken either or any of future possibilities of reconciliation from being realized, but what it can do is create a nice starting foundation and gathering point to unite and to based a movement off of. It grants a backend and frame work of power and recognition. Without that, we can only complain.

Senator Daniel Akaka clarifies this idea himself and clears up any misconceptions of the bill possessing an anti-independence essence:
“The bill would give them a kind of legal parity with tribal governments on the mainland...This sovereignty could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence. As far as what's going to happen at the other end, I'm leaving it up to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren”

Akaka’s grandchildren? that’s me. Not literally, but that’s us: Gen Y, the Millennials, Nā ‘Ōpio--the future leaders of Hawaii. Attend the Hawaiinuiākea graduation and realize that UH is producing leaders like a factory; semi-disenfranchised Hawaiian boys and girls coming in, kanaka maoli men and women alaka‘i coming out--by the tens, by the hundreds. Along with upward-mobility, some may see the bill as also allowing for a harder fall, but detractors need to have faith that our generation will bring the change, and that we, as a people, will prosper.

Other Hawaiian detractors (the "Keanuites") believe that the native rights issue should be taken beyond a national level and addressed to the United Nations. Since the overthrow took place illegally, Statehood couldn't have happened either. But how fruitful will this effort be? When has the U.N. ever trumped the power of the U.S., especially an issue with so little to gain from but so much to lose. The United States holds so much leverage in the United Nations, and the U.N. knows to tread lightly when acting against the best interests of the United States.

But I do agree with many of the points made by Hawaiian Kingdom supporters, especially the idea of Hawaii being nothing more than an "occupied" nation (as currently is Iraq). I recognize and support all steps being made under this paradigm, and would also like to help find a more pono plan of action. However, we shouldn't shoot for the stars of independence without a parachute; it's a long way down--especially when we haven't worked out the science as a solid foundation on how to get there. If anything at all, the Akaka Bill may not give us the stars, nor the rocket, but it will grant us with a parachute and possibly the launch pad as well.
The current Hawaiian Kingdom movement is led by Indigenous Law Expert Keanu Sai
The current Hawaiian Kingdom movement is led by Indigenous Law Expert Keanu Sai.
...But this route seems to be a lost cause

Before anything else we must realize that the Akaka Bill may be by all means needed! If the United States doesn't recognize Native Hawaiians as indigenous people, law-suits will inevitably continue to arise and may eventually destroy Hawaiian programs such as the Kamehameha Schools and The Hawaiian Homesteads. Currently, only a few Native Hawaiian programs are chiefly responsible for bringing the vast majority of rehabilitation and revitalization of our culture and people hence far and thereby should be of the first and foremost priority to keep these programs up and running—even if it requires the process to be done within the American system at first.

Although the Akaka Bill may not result in the ideal governing power desired by the native people of Hawaii, it is the most realistic approach in receiving back native rights from the United States. Any arguments against the approach or elements of the Akaka Bill may be rendered meaningless under the grounds that the bill is necessary and the only current method that will preserve what little rights Hawaiians possess today and possibly open doors to further compensation. "Little" (with the possibility to grow into much more) or "Nothing" (and possibly losing it all): you choose.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

McMackin's McMorals

Is anyone else completely appalled by Coach Mack? His remarks were deplorable, especially as a leader at a University where we pride ourselves on our lōkahi and aloha spirit among our incredibly diverse population.

HEAR HIS COMMENTS (may be offensive to many):
McMackin Slur

As Honolulu Advertiser Columnist David Shapiro elegantly put it:

"McMackin stepped way over the line when he tried to entertain reporters at a WAC media day by gratuitously insulting one of the university's constituencies with a vulgar epithet.

Beyond being crude and offensive, it was more than a little thick of McMackin to pointlessly malign a highly vocal group that is in the middle of a national battle to gain equality and respect.

Not to mention the poor sportsmanship he displayed in his clumsy attempt to disparage the manliness of a Notre Dame football team that had kicked his butt up and down the field in the Hawai‘i Bowl."

Perhaps McMacken was intoxicated at the time, otherwise I cannot fathom any possible justification for why he would repeatedly use a slur against gay people as an insult to a bunch of kids a third his age! It's decadent enough behind closed doors; but AT A PRESS CONFERENCE, his comments were just idiotic! During our University's daunting fiscal situation, will we continue to dish out 1.2million dollars a year for a common scene lacking, hateful football coach who hasn't yet proven himself on the sideline?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Unfortunately, our manly dance didn't win us the game: 49-21."]Unfortunately, our manly dance didnt win us the game: 49-21.[/caption]

I'm also concerned by ignorant comments readers are posting on blogs stating that McMacken remarks "weren't a big deal". There is NO place in any society for such degrading and hateful slander. But at a leadership capacity, the effect is tenfold. Whether heard from politicians or overpaid football coaches, these types of "light-hearted" slurs are what condition up-and-coming generations to behave similarly, add to a culture of discrimination, and ultimately prime non-tolerant attitudes and ignite hate crimes across our nation.

CHANCELLOR HINSHAW*: Fire this clown and save the students at least a half million a year. We can save at least a few classes, lecturers, and our university's national reputation.

*Refer to the question asked on PBS Insights last month concerning Coach Mack's Salary

Friday, July 31, 2009

Third Way Budget Solutions for Hawai‘i

Like any scientific issue (including political science), the solution to Hawai‘i’s economic diversification, and ultimate independence doesn’t lie in dichotomous theories. Although right-wing, free-trade theory does create a larger economic pie, left-wing protectionism is sometimes needed to ease the fall of uncompetitive domestic industries and support the emergence of new, sustainable industries in Hawai‘i. No compromise need be made between the means of conservative (the governor) and liberal (the legislature) policy makers here in Hawai‘i, but rather a single centrist (third-way) viewpoint should be created as a synthesis of these competing viewpoints. As are the alternatives I will propose, novel Third Way ideas have been defined as being “in favour of growth, entrepreneurship, enterprise and wealth creation but also in favour of greater social justice and see the state playing a major role in bringing this about" (BBC News. “What is the Third Way?” London: September 27, 1999).”

With a history of “them and us” attitudes between political parties in Hawai‘i inhibiting progress, this type of collaborative initiative is exactly what Hawai‘i needs. The goal of the Third Way policies I will propose is to meet the bi-partisan ends of both efficiency and equality by simultaneously utilizing conservative ideas of economic expansion, along with some liberal policies to expand the middle-class in Hawai‘i and supplement the free-market in fostering economic diversification. But before moving on, it must be disclaimed that I AM aware that I am merely a college student. The framework that will be laid out is not intended to be an absolute solution to Hawai‘i’s dependency, but rather mere suggestions or a preliminary design for experienced theorists and policy makers to work off of.

It is imperative that State governments work to balance their budgets during the recession to prevent unnecessary inflation, but the way Hawaii is going about it may not be the most efficient. The federal stimulus was intended for job creation, yet our state is instead focusing on job cuts. There are other solutions to help minimize the burden absorbed by the working public and future generations (See previous post).

Would the Hawaii’s tax payers prefer a small, temporary increase in General Excise taxes over the proposed layoffs and paycuts? What are the comparative consequences of each?

With a 4.5% general excise tax rate allowing over $2.18 billion in the past fiscal year, a 1% increase could generate an estimated $600 billion dollars for the State of Hawaii (well over the State’s $488 million deficit). The tax will only need to be increased temporarily to cover a two year deficit of $786 million per year. Since much of this tax is paid for by tourists, as businesses are allowed to levy the tax to their customers, this tax would be the most sensible to increase. Of course, there's no guaranteeing that the national recession will not cause a greater loss in State revenue after 2 years time, but all other actions designed by the state (such as furloughs and layoffs) are also only designed to account for the next two years. Compared to layoffs and pay cuts, this option is the easiest to undo. [All data received or derived from Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. Outlook for the Economy. (Honolulu: GPO, 2009)]

I also recognize that the burden of tax will fall upon consumers and businesses equally because of rather simplistic rules of supply and demand. However, if legislature was to continue to enforce the cap of the amount of the GE tax (imposed on business) to be levied onto consumers, at around 4%, then we shouldn't expect to see a decrease in spending due to higher taxes. Businesses, on the other hand, will immediately be forced to economize more efficiently.

Second, a state level cap-and-trade system with pollution credits shared and sold among businesses, similar to the recent federal bill, should be implemented. This abstract market could also prove to be a great benefit to Hawai‘i’s government as both a money maker –it’s almost as if it were out of thin air—and a protection for both environmental and economic sustainability as it would create a limit for corporate pollution.

The revenue from the cap-and-trade system could go towards the creation of new, sustainable industries. Focus shouldn’t be on preserving falling industries and “buying local”, but rather on the creation of new businesses and industries. Hawai‘i policy makers should divert the attention placed on technology to the sustainable energy markets , in which Hawai‘i would not only have the comparative, but the absolute advantage as well, with only very little threat from outside competition. Tax-credits could be appropriated for businesses in industries directly related to solar, wind, wave, and geothermal energy production and usage. Direct subsidies for infant industries could also be appropriate to allow for free-entry in an otherwise monopolistic atmosphere. This being, the subsidies would only last in the short run and the industry should not expect to rely on the funding after the first year or so.

Next, government streamlining is needed to keep costs down and reduce excessive intervention. The most noteworthy and notorious area of concern is Hawai‘i’s Department of Education, which is the only centralized, completely state-controlled system of public education among all States in the United States of America. Usually, schools are led by boards in their respective districts, while the schools are paid for by the property taxes in the area. In Hawai‘i, however, School districts are directly controlled from Honolulu by the fourteen members of the Board of Education: Central District, Hawaiʻi District, Honolulu District, Kauaʻi District, Leeward District, Maui District, and Windward District. Thirteen members are directly elected by the voters of either O‘ahu or the Neighbor Islands to staggered four-year terms. The original reasoning behind of a centralized system in Hawai‘i was to allow every child a chance at the same, quality education, regardless of where they are from. However, during these years, Hawai‘i has developed a reputation for having one of the worst net of standardized test scores in the nation.

The structure of the DOE should be broken down into smaller districts. This will alleviate the tax payers of Hawai‘i from the burden it takes to maintain a centralized system. The size of the Hawaiian Islands (especially Oahu, the most densely populated) in relation to the concentration and placement of public schools, makes it possible for students from less affluent neighborhoods to attend another with more resources. Furthermore, there are top-rate private school options spread throughout Hawai‘i’s communities that offer very generous amounts of financial aid to underprivileged children which could also reduce the costs of these programs lower than that of the public system. The fact of the matter is, a great education IS available for any child who is able and motivated in Hawaii. A child’s perceived value of education starts from within the home. Our investment in each school shouldn’t be greater than what it will produce. It’s fair to have better schools for more motivated students! If a parent wants her child to go to a great school, she’ll make it happen, even if it requires a slightly longer commute. The possibility of increasing the amount of charter schools in the islands should also be looked in to.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Maui Boy Makes it.

Congratulations Kaluka Maiava! I'm proud to have played against you. You are and will continue to be a true inspiration for all young, up-and-coming athletes in Hawaii.

According to the Cleveland Brown's scout report:

"The Cleveland Browns have signed fourth-round pick Kaluka Maiava, the team announced on Friday. According to a league source, Maiava signed a four-year, $2.27 million deal that includes a signing bonus of $516,500. The former USC linebacker was a second-team All-Pac 10 selection as a senior when he notched 66 tackles, eight stops for loss and an interception. He was named defensive MVP of the 2009 Rose Bowl."

That's more than Obama Makes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Higher Education in Hawai‘i

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to be a panelist on "Insights with Dan Boylan," a live PBS broadcast. I accepted. Such an ample opportunity to have student voices heard through a professional and public forum should never be passed up. To student readers, I encourage you to watch the program if you haven't already. It is important to be informed, because with 33 departments, 150 faculty positions, and 500 classes up for cuts, you WILL be affected. Be involved and learn what you can do to help remedy the financial situation we are facing.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.853770&w=425&h=250&]

"As the State faces massive budget cuts the impact on higher education will be significant. Which programs are on the chopping block and how will faculty and students be affected?"

Scheduled Panelists were as followed:
VIRGINIA HINSHAW - Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
MICHAEL UNEBASAMI - Associate VP, Administrative Affairs for Community Colleges
DAVID ROSS - Chair, Mānoa Faculty Senate Executive Committee
MARK ING - President, Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i (ASUH)

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Blogger's Paradox

Our generation is often criticized for being frenziedly narcissistic. Since personal weblogs are sometimes considered to be at the epitome of egotism, a smidgen of irony may characterize my creation of a blog in an effort to help to defeat this stereotype of our generation. But there are many types of blogs, and blogs remain the best new medium to push forward the next big ideas. It's time that we step up and set the pace in society.

...proof that the youth can be heard! But poor kid needs to be allowed to have some real fun!!! Parents, you're not fooling anyone. He needs a social life.

CONVERSELY, I encourage everyone to put aside some time of solitude everyday and start blogging, no matter if you are interested in world politics or extra large ball-jointed dolls. Whether or not we are being truly represented by these usually way cooler, cyber extensions of ourselves is besides the point of purpose. The pervasiveness our cyber-selves could achieve through blogging usually can't even be realized by ourselves "IRL". Would 26.3 million people (not counting the millions more views of re-posts) been able to see Crocker cry for Britney if it wasn't for the magic of blogging? And even if not a single person reads (or views) your blog (...vlog), it creates a beautifully creative, multi-media journal of your life. And as long as you don't pull a Michael "The Gold Medal Bongmaster" Phelps, your blog could be great for the old resume!!!

Just, keep it civil: