CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Students at the UH-Manoa campus signed a petition yesterday opposing a university bid for a facility conducting classified military research on campus.
UH will become
‘a military servant’
Anti-war and Hawaiian groups
oppose a campus Navy research center
Hawaiian and anti-war protesters assailed the establishment of a military research center at the University of Hawaii during a rally yesterday.
"It will turn the university into a military servant," said Kyle Kajihiro, of the American Friends Service Committee, during the rally, held at the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus.
Organizations including the American Friends Service Committee-Hawaii, Ilioulaokalani Coalition, Kualii Council and Not in Our Name spoke to dozens of students at the Campus Center courtyard yesterday against the Navy's University-Affiliated Research Center, which would allow classified research.
Speakers at the rally said the center would contribute to the threat of military expansion in the islands.
Some members from the organizations plan to attend Board of Regents meetings today and tomorrow at Kapiolani Community College, although the research center is not listed on the agenda.
In November the Board of Regents granted the administration provisional approval to begin negotiations with the Navy for the establishment of the University-Affiliated Research Center at the Manoa campus, the fifth of its kind designated by the Department of Defense as a Navy research center.
Areas of research would include oceanography, astronomy, information technology and sensor technology.
The administration is expected to return to the Board of Regents for final approval on the center, which could generate up to $50 million in research grants from the Navy. UH spokesman Jim Manke said the university generates more than $300 million in research money annually.
Gary Ostrander, the newly appointed chancellor for research and graduate education at the university, said research conducted at the Navy's largest University Affiliated Research Center, at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, is not classified. He recently left his post at the center as associate provost for research and chairman of the graduate board.
Ostrander also said the Navy does not pose a threat to the university. "It's not the military taking over the institution," Ostrander said. "It's the institution working on topics that the military is interested in."
"The Navy is funding research that will be of interest to the Navy," he added.
Ostrander said the university is looking forward to a dialogue with members of the organizations and the public about the center.
Manu Kaiama of Kualii Council, which is made up of more than 80 native Hawaiian faculty and staff members, said discussion on the issue has yet to take place between the university and the public.
More than 100 students signed a petition in the courtyard yesterday against the establishment of the research center.
"I'm against all military expansion," said Kanani Alapa, a senior majoring in English and communications. "Anything classified or secretive is potentially dangerous."