The Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13, over the Thirty-Meter Telescope project.
The Pūkoʻa Council, the Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system released the following announcement today, for their planned walk-out tomorrow:
As the University of Hawaiʻi, which purports to be a “Hawaiian place of learning” continues to disregard the voice of the Hawaiian community in its opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, the Pūkoʻa Council, the Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaiʻi system, has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13 at noon. The walk-out will be supported by various professors, staff and students throughout the University of Hawaiʻi system.
The Pūkoʻa council, composed of representatives from all ten University of Hawaiʻi (UH) system campuses, met with President Lassner at Kapʻiolani Community College on April 6, 2015. At that time, the President was advised that the Pūkoʻa Council stands firmly against the TMT project and was urged to halt construction.
In addition, a separate letter urging Thirty Meter Telescope Corporation partners to divest from the project has garnered support from over 150 University of Hawaiʻi and community organizations, departments, professors, staff and student organizations.
The Pūkoʻa Council position and the letter to the TMT investors shows that there is substantial opposition to the TMT within the University of Hawaiʻi and calls for the University of Hawaiʻi to halt all construction efforts.
“The Board of Regents or the Office of Mauna Kea Management can no longer speak on behalf of the entire University for this issue. As we’ve seen in the past week, opposition to this issue is widespread and this includes opposition within the University itself. The Board of Regents needs to know this as do the TMT investors,” says UH Mānoa representative for the Pūkoʻa Council, Dr. Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa.
“Mauna Kea is sacred to Native Hawaiians and is part of the corpus of Hawaiian national lands but this is not simply a Native Hawaiian issue,” says Professor of English, Candace Fujikane. “This is an environmental issue, one of upholding legal protections for the environment as well as one of good government . There are three court cases yet to be resolved over the TMT so why is the University beginning construction?”
The walk-out will lead into a rally at Campus Center, followed by a press conference at 12:30 at the UHM Campus Center courtyard where the Pūkoʻa Council will issue a statement on its position to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents and Professor Jon Osorio will also release the letter directed to the TMT partners.