Thursday, November 18, 1999

UH faculty
favor more

The proposal follows a
confrontation between a
gay student and professor

By Susan Kreifels


University of Hawaii Faculty members are proposing the University of Hawaii-Manoa Faculty Senate support greater diversity on campus and address problems of race, indigenous rights and ethnic heritage.

The proposal yesterday followed a confrontation last week between a gay student and professor, as well as controversy surrounding proposals to make the study of indigenous Pacific Island and Asian cultures a core requirement.

"To teach, administer and study at the University of Hawaii is to engage in an environment unlike any other in the United States," wrote LaRene Despain and Edgar Porter, members of a faculty task force proposing core requirement changes.

"To ignore or, worse yet, dismiss this uniqueness will only encourage the continuation of a disconnected dialogue that allows an outside dominant force to instill values and decisions not in the best interest of the host culture in which we all live."

Faculty Senate representative Andrea Feeser of the Art Department proposed a resolution asking the senate to help organize forums to discuss race and indigenous issues. The executive committee will consider her request to include the item for a vote at next month's meeting.

The senate then will vote on the proposed changes to core requirements.

At a meeting last week of the entire faculty to discuss those changes, student leaders who are native Hawaiian supported requiring world history classes that focus less on European-American perspectives and pay more attention to other cultures.

Pi'ilani Smith, president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, also criticized UH-Manoa for not promoting more diversity among its faculty.

Although students said speakers were heckled during the meeting, faculty leaders said they felt discussions were for the most part orderly except for one faculty member, Loren Gautz, who yelled curse words.

After the meeting, gay student Lance Collins, who is half Filipino, cursed at Gautz for his comment. Gautz cursed back, and Collins accused him of sexual assault, claiming Gautz unbuckled his belt.

The UH administration is investigating the incident. Gautz would not comment.

Ka Leo O Hawaii

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