CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kyle Kajihiro of the American Friends Service Committee waited yesterday for doors at the University of Hawaii-Manoa's Bachman Hall to open so he could deliver some papers to the UH regents. About 40 students and faculty members attended the rally.
Protests simmer at UH
Opponents of a proposed Navy research lab chanted "Open our door" at administrators inside locked plate-glass doors at the University of Hawaii-Manoa main administration building yesterday.
The last time the Save UHStop UARC Coalition gathered at Bachman Hall was in May 2005, when they ended a weeklong occupation of UH President David McClain's office.
The Navy research lab, now called an Affiliated Research Center, is on the agenda for final approval at tomorrow's Board of Regents meeting at UH-Hilo.
At a news conference yesterday, coalition members outlined why they oppose the lab, saying it could lead to classified weapons research at the university and goes against the wishes of the majority of faculty and students.
Carolyn Hatfield, of the World Can't WaitDrive Out the Bush Regime, tied opposition to the Navy lab to the war in Iraq.
"It's the privatization of the University of Hawaii," said Jill Nunokawa, a civil rights counselor at UH-Manoa. "Is any money good money?"
In a memo to the Board of Regents recommending approval of the Navy lab, McClain said the project could bring as much as $50 million in five years to the university.
McClain stressed the need to allow researchers the freedom to pursue topics that interest them, even if the research is unpopular with other faculty members.
The Affiliated Research Center would allow the Navy and other federal agencies to contract directly with the university for research in astronomy, oceanography, advanced electro-optical systems and communications systems, rather than go through a competitive bidding process.
Kyle Kajihiro of the American Friends Service Committee said the structure of the Navy lab would allow the Navy to bypass procurement laws and make it difficult to keep track of irregularities.
UH professor Noel Kent said he believes the university's financial projections are too optimistic.
Speakers also complained that the meeting is being held in Hilo, where many would not be able to attend.
Carolyn Tanaka, UH associate vice president for external affairs, said the next scheduled regents meeting on Oahu is in January. "I think people have been offered every opportunity to speak their minds both for and against (the Navy lab)," she said.
Tanaka said security concerns led to the locking of Bachman Hall, especially considering the occupation of the president's office 2 1/2 years ago.
In an e-mail, UH Vice President for Administration Sam Callejo said security plans for tomorrow's meeting are still being discussed.