One Friday morning early last month, I landed at the Honolulu International Airport on a flight from Korea, got into my car, and drove straight to campus just in time to attend the Faculty Senate meeting. Considering that my flight landed at 9:50 a.m. and the meeting was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m., I would call that fortuitous timing. It is important to me to support and dialog with our Faculty Senate. The faculty have a vital role in university governance. Faculty can and should express, recommend, question, advise, and actively participate in decisions for the good and future of the entire institution. I am pleased that our UH West Oʻahu Faculty Senate takes an active role in the matters of UHWO. I am also heartened that our staff have now taken the initiative of forming a UHWO Staff Senate, and I look forward to the staff participation in university governance, as well.
My belief in faculty activism and involvement reaches back to my earlier days at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I served as the Secretary on the UH Mānoa Faculty Senate. In the early 1970s, even as a non-tenured assistant professor of education, I spent a portion of my time knocking on dozens upon dozens of office doors of my fellow faculty to campaign and raise awareness about the need for a faculty union. I felt that it was my responsibility as faculty to protect our rights and interests. I was then, and still am, opposed to administrators making unilateral decisions on matters that merited the voice of the faculty. The entity that I was fighting for would ultimately become the University of Hawaiʻi Professional Assembly (UHPA). I whole-heartedly believe that faculty and staff are fundamental to the development of our campus framework. We need the voices of the faculty, staff, and students even if they make for challenging moments for me in my position as interim chancellor.
And of course, I’m in utter admiration of our student leaders and the work that they do with the Associated Students of UH – West Oʻahu. Our students are the best ambassadors of our campus, and their aptitude for pursuing and achieving greatness in student governance is commendable.
Some other tidbits…
I would like to thank Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Regent Jan Sullivan, and former Regent Roy Takeyama for visiting our campus in March to tour our `Ulu`ulu Archives, cyberCANOE room, the Roy and Hilda Takeyama Academy for Creative Media Production Labroom, and forensic
s anthropology lab. It was a joy to show off our campus. I especially want to extend my gratitude to Roy and Hilda Takeyama for their generous contribution of $1 million to the Academy for Creative Media (ACM) program at UH West Oʻahu to support ACM students with tuition, books, fees, travel, the purchase of computer hardware and software, student internships, and special student scholarships that may be established. It will also be used to outfit the anticipated Academy for Creative Media building with state-of-the-art equipment.
Congratulations to Chancellor Emeritus Rockne Freitas on being recognized by both houses of the State Legislature and commended for his contributions to the University of Hawaiʻi and State. UH West Oʻahu’s student legislative interns, who initiated and drafted the resolution as a cohort project, were also recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate also recognized UH West Oʻahu on our 40th Anniversary. Congratulations to all!