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UH regents petition governor for funding


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POSTED: Friday, October 16, 2009

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved a supplemental budget request to the governor yesterday that calls for $235.5 million in construction bond spending to fix aging buildings and $31 million for a new College of Hawaiian Language building at UH-Hilo.

The operating budget does not call for restoration of the $100 million in general funds cut by the governor and the Legislature next year, although the administration is asking for $2.2 million to develop a comprehensive management plan for proposed telescopes on Mauna Kea.

“;We must all work together to deal with the budget,”; said board Chairman Howard Karr.

“;The fact remains that nearly every state, including ours, is deeply cutting budgets, and we must first survive this immediate lack of cash,”; UH President M.R.C. Greenwood told the regents.

More than 100 students and faculty crowded the meeting yesterday at UH-Manoa. Some waved signs saying, “;Support schools, not banks”; and “;Capitalism is the crisis.”;

“;Where do our priorities lie? What are our values?”; UH-Manoa student Rachel Gundy asked the regents during public testimony. “;Aren't there other alternatives (to cutting the budget)?”;

Hawaiian Studies professor Jon Osorio asked the regents to join with faculty and students to pressure the governor and the Legislature to restore funding to UH.

“;The response of the administration and the silence of the Board of Regents to the budget cuts signals an unwillingness to public advocate for this university's support in these difficult times,”; Osorio said.

In her remarks to the regents, UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw said the budget cuts are hurting the campus.

“;UH-Manoa is, in my view, at a tipping point,”; she said. “;Education is not the priority it should be, and that threatens the competitiveness of the U.S., including Hawaii.”;

But Hinshaw said UH-Manoa is not exempt from budget cuts. “;The reality is that the economy will recover, but these next two to three years are going to be tough.”;