Friday, July 12, 2002

Sitting under a portrait of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop at their Kawaiahao Plaza offices, from left, Kamehameha Schools trustees Nainoa Thompson, Robert Kihune, Constance Lau, and Douglas Ing, Chief Executive Officer Hamilton McCubbin, and trustee Diane Plotts today discussed the admission of a non-Hawaiian student to Kamehameha Schools.

CEO explains
decision to enroll

Kamehameha Schools' move on
Maui angers some in school ohana

By Rick Daysog

Some members of the Hawaiian community are lashing out at a Kamehameha Schools decision to admit its first non-Hawaiian student at its Maui campus this year.

Kamehameha Schools Chief Executive Officer Hamilton McCubbin said the school accepted the student for the 2002-2003 year after the Maui campus admitted all applicants of Hawaiian ancestry who met their admissions requirements.

McCubbin said the unexpected vacancy came after the Kamehameha Schools doubled the number of spaces in the Maui campus' kindergarten through ninth-grade programs this year.

"We have had a rapid, if not massive, expansion of our two new campuses on the neighbor island campus, creating vacancies for the first time that we have not anticipated," McCubbin said today in a news conference attended by all five of the estate's trustees.

"This is not a new policy that we have adopted for this particular situation."

The decision is not expected to affect admissions at the estate's Kapalama Heights campus on Oahu, where the number of Hawaiian applicants outpaces the number of students by about 8-to-1.

The Kamehameha Schools gives preference to students of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent allowed under laws governing tax-exempt organizations. Non-Hawaiians can be admitted when the list of Hawaiian applicants is exhausted and space is available.

In 1999, students lined up in front of the new Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus. The campus will admit a non-Hawaiian student this fall.

The trust received many angry telephone calls and e-mails yesterday.

Former Kamehameha Schools trustee Oswald Stender said the move "opens the floodgates" for denying educational benefits to Hawaiian children.

Stender, who played a major role in the reforming the $6 billion charitable trust, said he has fielded about a dozen calls from alumni and parents who are upset about the decision. He added that two of his nieces applied on Maui but were turned down recently.

"You cannot tell me that in all of Maui, Molokai and Lanai that there is not one more Hawaiian child that could go to that school," said Stender, a Kamehameha Schools graduate.

"There are thousands of Hawaiian families that would give their right arms to get their child into Kamehameha Schools. ... It's kind of frightening that they are doing this."

Dr. Maile Jachowski, a 1977 Kamehameha Schools valedictorian, said she thought the decision was political and did not fulfill the wishes of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who established the trust.

Jachowski, who has two children attending Kamehameha Schools on Maui, said the decision will eventually lead to many non-Hawaiian students attending Kamehameha Schools on Maui, since the private institution's tuition is far lower than Seabury Hall, the other private high school in the Upcountry area.

"It's an extreme change in policy. They're saying, 'If you're not smart enough, we're not going to help you,'" said Jachowski.

Added Roy Benham, former Oahu region president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association: "I am more interested in the students who don't meet the criteria. They need the education more, and I would lean over backwards to bring them in."

Toni Lee, president of the Oahu region of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, does not believe the decision sets a bad precedent. She said the opening for a non-Hawaiian at the Maui school was created mostly as a result of the expansion of that campus.

From the mid-1940s through the 1960s, Kamehameha Schools admitted non-Hawaiian children of teachers. The school also admitted some non-Hawaiians during the 1930s, according to a trust spokeswoman.

The school also has admitted some non-Hawaiians to its early preschool programs as well as its adult education training programs.

If there were not enough Hawaiian applicants, the "pono thing to do" would be to admit the student, said Lee, a 1959 graduate.

"What can you say when there isn't enough people who apply?"

Star-Bulletin reporter Gary T. Kubota contributed to this report.

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