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Native Hawaiian educators urge UH search delay


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 09, 2009

(Editor's note: This was sent recently as an open letter to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.)

Aloha, Chairman (Allan) Landon and members of the Board of Regents, University of Hawaii,

We have just been informed of the withdrawal of Dr. Robert Jones from candidacy for the president of the University of Hawaii. This is unfortunate given the late date of his withdrawal, and the imminent needs of the university.

We at Ho'olulu Council for Native Hawaiians at Hawai'i Community College urge you to slow down the process of selecting the new president. Name an interim president from within the senior ranks of the University of Hawaii system. The path for our future has already been set with the 2008-2015 Strategic Plan and Outcomes. The interim president can stay the course and continue to move the university forward toward the achievement of those goals.

Go back to the pool of candidates. No need to begin a brand new search. Relook at the pool of candidates with fresh eyes. Take into consideration the concerns and comments of the public, the Legislature and your employees regarding a desire for a qualified local candidate, one with closer ties to the University of Hawaii, this land and its people and future.

In our eyes, an ideal local candidate is someone who has received a degree from the University of Hawaii system or works within the system, who resides or has resided in Hawaii, who knows and understands the local community, ethnic traditions, political structure, who has a vested interest in the community's success and sees themselves as part of the community fabric.

We urge you not to select the last candidate simply because she is the last person standing. That is not a winning choice and would be totally unacceptable to us. Winning the presidency based on the withdrawal of all other candidates is not a good process for selecting a new leader.

We would stand a better chance of finding a qualified president by playing “;jan ken po”;!

With all sincerity,

Noe Noe Wong-Wilson

Chair, Ho'olulu Council, Hawai'i Community College