marchers: ‘We care’

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Marchers gather at the Royal Mausoleum for today's demonstration.

About 300 gather to protest how
Bishop trustees are running the school

By Gregg K. Kakesako

More than 300 spirited Kamehameha Schools parents, students, alumni and supporters gathered at the Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu this morning to protest the way things are being done at the Kapalama Heights campus.

Addressing the crowd, Roy Benham, a 1941 graduate and one of the organizers, said: "We are here to ho'oponopono. We are a part of an ohana."

He added that the protests of his group, called Na Pua o Pauahi, seems to be making headway with the trustees. "There are signs that they are listening and that they will do something for the school."

Benham says that one of the priorities of the organization is to reschedule "the talk session" with trustees which was canceled.

Mike Lum, Class of 1981, said he joined the group this morning to support Dr. (Michael) Chun and the whole movement. "I don't like what is going on xxx There's too much pilikia at the school."

Mark Crabbe, class of 1980, said his presence was to support Princess Pauahi Bishop and her will. "I'm also here to support Kamehameha School and Dr. Chun and to bring resolution to what is going on and to try to bring things back to righteousness."

Then, in a line two abreast and accompanied by drum beats, the marchers left the mausoleum, where school benefactor Princess Bishop is buried, to walk the 3 miles to the Hawaii Supreme Court, then to Bishop Estate headquarters, carrying a list of concerns.

They were lined up by class, beginning with alumni from the Class of 1940.

Many of them were wearing white and blue T-shirts bearing the likeness of Bishop, with the words "Kue Pono" (Stand Up For the Rights) and "We Care" on the shirt front.

The protest is aimed at encouraging Bishop Estate trustees to resolve the management problems at the school.

The protesters want the Supreme Court, whose five justices appoint the five Bishop Estate trustees, to resolve the situation.

The group wants the authority of Chun, the school's first president of Hawaiian ancestry, restored.

During a reorganization, Chun was given the task of strategic planning while Rockne Freitas, who was appointed vice president in 1995, was given the task of operations.

Yesterday, the trustees asked the state court to appoint retired Circuit Judge Patrick Yim as an independent fact finder "to determine the facts concerning allegations that have been circulating" about management of the schools.

The action is "a move in the right direction," said Benham yesterday.

A news release from Bishop Estate said the trustees sought a way to address the "highly charged emotional atmosphere" through a process that will be seen as "objective, impartial and above reproach."

Last week, Nona Beamer, a former Kamehameha teacher, said she wants the Hawaii Supreme Court to impeach trustee Lokelani Lindsey.

"If the Supreme Court has the power to hire trustees, they should be able to fire them, too," Beamer said.

"I don't believe trustees should be in the classroom telling teachers how to teach in front of students."

In a written statement, Lindsey, a former Maui Schools District superintendent named a trustee in 1993, said:

"The administration of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate rests solely with the board of trustees.

"The accountability for the administration of the trust cannot be delegated by the trustees to any third party."

Star-Bulletin writer Mary Adamski
contributed to this report.

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