Friday, August 5, 2005


Kamehameha says
no to student,
pending appeal

The trustees of Kamehameha Schools voted unanimously against admitting a non-Hawaiian 12th-grader pending the outcome of the court case he brought against the school challenging its Hawaiians-only admission policy, the school confirmed yesterday.

Eric Grant, a Sacramento, Calif., attorney representing the boy, known in court documents as "John Doe," said he got a call from the school yesterday, and "the trustees didn't give me a reason; they just said no, or rather, they said, 'Hell no.'"

On Tuesday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the admission policy as violating federal anti-discrimination laws. The school has vowed to appeal the ruling either through a rehearing process at the 9th Circuit level or by going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since the appeal puts the court's ruling on hold, Grant asked the school to voluntarily allow John Doe to attend his senior year, which would begin Aug. 18.

Kamehameha spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said the trustees took a vote Wednesday.

Paulsen said: "We are appealing the ruling, so we are not willing to make an exception just to facilitate the admission of one student.

"This case has never been about a single child, but it's about our preference policies and nothing has changed. We back our admissions policy," he said.

Grant said he understood the school's position.

"I don't begrudge the school appealing," he said. "That's what lawyers do. But they said they would have admitted him under a race-blind policy, and I think they should let him have his senior year while the lawyers do their wrangling."

Without an agreement, Grant is pursuing an injunction he filed earlier this week with the 9th Circuit asking it to compel Kamehameha to admit his client. Kamehameha is expected to file a reply to the injunction next week. Grant said he will make a "swift reply," and then it is up to the court.

There is no formal time for the court to decide.

According to court filings, John Doe first applied to Kamehameha as a ninth-grader for the 2002-2003 academic year. The case was filed June 25, 2003.

John Doe applied the next year for 10th grade. Although the admissions office described John Doe as "a competitive applicant," he was twice denied admission because he was not of Hawaiian ancestry. He applied again for 11th and 12th grades.

Kamehameha is expected to file a request for an "en banc" hearing with the 9th Circuit. If a majority of the 28 appeals judges votes in favor of the request, then a panel of 11 judges would review the case and hold a hearing. Such hearings are rarely granted.

The school could also appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kamehameha Schools

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