ASSOCIATION OF HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUBS
NO. 2020 – 32
URGING THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAIʻI BOARD OF REGENTS TO MAINTAIN ITS COMMITMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY TO THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF HAWAIʻI IN ITS MISSION AND FOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY IN HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE, HISTORY, AND CULTURE
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) founded in 1907 serves as the only public system of higher education including three universities, seven community colleges and community-based learning centers across the state of Hawaiʻi; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi system is governed by a Board of Regents, which is composed of 11 members who are nominated by a Regents Candidate Advisory Council, appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the state legislature to oversee all aspects of governance of the university system including its internal structure, management, and policy setting; and
WHEREAS, some of the University of Hawaiʻi campuses occupy lands affirmed by the 1959 Admissions Act as having a trust status and that revenues from these lands should be used “for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians”; and
WHEREAS, the Hawaiʻi State Constitution was amended in 1978 to include Article X, Section 4 which mandated that, “the State shall promote the study of Hawaiian culture, history and language” and as the only State institution of higher education, the University of Hawaiʻi has the explicit responsibility to carry out this mandate; and
WHEREAS, the Pukoʻa Council of the University of Hawaiʻi was formed in 2002 to provide a formal, independent voice and organization through which Native Hawaiian faculty, staff, administrators and students can participate in the development and interpretation of system-wide policies and practices related to Native Hawaiian programs, activities, initiatives and issues; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents amended Regent Policy (RP) 4.201, Mission and Purpose of the University in 2009 stating that “as the only provider of public higher education in Hawaiʻi, the university embraces its unique responsibilities to the Indigenous people of Hawaiʻi and to Hawaiʻi’s Indigenous language and culture, ensures active support for the participation of Native Hawaiians at the university, and support vigorous programs of study and support for the Hawaiian language, history, and culture”; and
WHEREAS, RP 4.201 also ensures UH’s unique commitment to Native Hawaiians is fulfilled by providing support in the development, implementation, and improvement of programs and services for Native Hawaiians; encouraging the increased representation of Native Hawaiians within the university; supporting full participation of Native Hawaiians in all initiatives and programs of the university; actively soliciting consultation from the Native Hawaiian community and specifically the Pukoʻa Council; providing for and promoting the use of the Hawaiian language within the university; providing a level of support for the study of Hawaiian language, culture and history within the university that honors, perpetuates and strengthens those disciplines into the future; encouraging Native Hawaiians to practice their language, culture and other aspects of their traditional customary rights throughout all university campuses and providing Hawaiian environments and facilities for such activities; and addressing the education needs of Native Hawaiians, the State of Hawaiʻi, and the world at large, in the areas of Hawaiian language, culture, and history through outreach; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi System in 2011 was tasked by the State of Hawaiʻi legislature to map a plan for the university to become the model indigenous-serving institution; and
WHEREAS, characteristics of a model indigenous-serving institution include Hawaiian enrollment at parity with Hawaiians in the Hawaiʻi state population, Hawaiian students performing at parity with non-Hawaiians, tenured Hawaiian faculty numbers increasing by 25% each year, Native Hawaiian values are included in its decision making and practices, Hawaiians hold leadership roles in the UH administration, becoming the foremost authority on Native Hawaiian scholarship, responding to the needs of the Hawaiian community, and with community input, implements programs to address these needs and fostering and promoting Hawaiian culture and language at all its campuses; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi Office of the President established the Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao Committee in 2012 composed of 10 members representing each of the UH campuses to establish system-wide initiatives and support campus-specific indigenous efforts around three thematic goals with supporting objective under leadership development, community engagement, and Hawaiian language and culture parity; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi System strategic direction was updated in 2018 to reflect the university’s mission focused system priority to give greater visibility to the importance of UH’s mission objectives of becoming an indigenous-serving institution; and
WHEREAS, Native Hawaiian enrollment across the UH System has continued to increase to 24% in Fall 2020 which is above parity with Native Hawaiians in the Hawai’i state population; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi is now faced with financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is considering a broad range of cuts to balance its budget including personnel cuts, furloughs, and eliminating or merging programs, departments, and academic units; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi should be seeking alternatives to budget shortfalls by exploring non-personnel cost-saving measures, reduction of administrative positions and salaries through consolidation of functions, and should be carefully examining and consulting before making program or department cuts and/or reorganizations; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Personnel Affairs and Board Governance Committee in May 2020 proposed changes to RP 4.201 which removes from the university’s mission its responsibility to the Indigenous people of Hawaiʻi and to Hawaiʻi’s Indigenous language and culture without actively soliciting consultation from the Native Hawaiian community and specifically the Pukoʻa Council as required under RP 4.201; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents’ actions highlight what is a growing trend within universities and other institutions of higher education that dismiss and disregard explicit legal mandates and their moral responsibilities to promote Indigenous languages and knowledge, allegations leveraged against the University of Waikato in Aotearoa (New Zealand), instead of critically reflecting and courageously examining the ongoing legacies of colonialism and structural racism within academic institutions; and
WHEREAS, the University of Hawaiʻi is a public good that is accountable to the people of Hawaiʻi.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 61st Annual Convention held online, in the malama of Makali‘i and the rising of ‘Olekūkolu, this 22nd day of November 2020, urging the University Board of Board of Regents to maintain its commitment and responsibility to the indigenous people of Hawaiʻi in its Mission and for programs of study in Hawaiian language, history and culture; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents, the University of Hawaiʻi President, Director of the Office of Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao and the Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao Committee, the Pūkoʻa Native Hawaiian Council, Chairs of the State Senate subject matter committees on Ways and Means, Technology, and Higher Education, Chairs of the State House subject matter committees on Finance, Lower & Higher Education, and Judiciary, as well as the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, President of the State Senate, Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Chair of the State Senate subject matter committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the State House subject matter committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and all county Mayors.
The undersigned herby certifies that the foregoing Resolution was duly adopted in the malama of Makaliʻi and the rising of ʻOlekūkolu on the 22nd day of November 2020, at the 61st Annual Convention of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs held online.
Hailama V.K.K. Farden, President