Staff threatens
to go public

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Several hundred protesters gather at the Kamehameha statue yesterday.

Sources say a list of concerns
will be released if trustees
fail to address them

By Rod Ohira

A statement of concerns drafted by 200-250 Kamehameha Schools staffers will be made public if Bishop Estate trustees do not address them within a set time period, say campus sources.

It is a bold move by faculty members, many of whom are sworn to silence by a section in their year-to-year contracts that probits any action or statements critical of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.

"Basically, you have no rights. KSBE can do anything they want and terminate your position at any time," a source said about the clause. "People's hands are tied."

Participation in yesterday's protest march, for example, would have been a violation of the "allegiance" clause.

The faculty is not allowed to have an association, so staffers met privately three times last week to draft a list of concerns as well as a "spirit document" proclaiming their loyalty to the school and its students.

The statement was presented to the trustees yesterday. If there is no action, the concerns will be "nailed to a church door" sources said, indicating the statement will be made public anonymously.

Faculty are currently working in "an atmosphere of fear" as a result of trustees' management of the school, sources said.

"An analogy (the faculty) is using is that it's like a dysfunctional family, trapped in an abusive situation," one of the sources said. "Every time an abuse occurs, family members are threatened and told not to say anything to anyone.

"There's even denial by the abuser, like in domestic abuse cases," the source added. "It's fear and intimidation."

Lindsey has total control

Critics have said trustee Lokelani Lindsey, currently chief administrator of the school, has total control over what is to be taught and how it is to be done.

Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier, a former Kamehameha resource specialist who developed the school's Hawaiian language television learning program, believes Lindsey's micromanaging has affected the progress of Hawaiian language studies at the school.

"Lokelani Lindsey decided we couldn't use new Hawaiian words and that we should teach only what was in the dictionary," said Kaniaupio-Crozier, currently a Leeward Community College and University of Hawaii language instructor.

"Language can only live if allowed to live in the century we live in," she added. "But we were told this is the way it's going to be and that the bottom line is there will be no discussion.

"The program had to be approved by her, yet she doesn't even speak Hawaiian," Kaniaupio-Crozier noted.

She said Lindsey denied the language faculty's request for a written directive on the issue, and Kaniaupio-Crozier doubts any other departments received written directives. So in terms of a paper trail, she notes that, "I don't think calling in the judge (Patrick Yim) as an independent fact-finder is going to produce much."

Misguided interpretation

Lindsey may believe running Kamehameha Schools is her kuleana but Kaniaupio-Crozier says the trustee's interpretation of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's wishes are misguided.

"I don't think Pauahi ever intended for the people taking care of the money to be running the school," Kaniaupio-Crozier said.

Students, meanwhile, were advised by school President Mike Chun not skip school to participate in yesterday's protest march, because it would be considered an unexcused absence.

According to school guidelines, unexcused absences will result in one grade drop per class missed.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Marchers file through the Iolani Palace gate on the way to the Kamehameha statue yesterday to protest what they say is micromanagement at Kamehameha Schools.

Bishop trustees agree
to talk with dissenters

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Embattled Bishop Estate trustees have agreed to meet with leaders of a group of concerned parents and alumni of Kamehameha Schools following several weeks of protests.

The protests, letter-writing and petitions culminated with a two-hour march yesterday as members of Na Pua o Pauahi took issues first to Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Moon and finally the trustees, who have been criticized for "micromanaging" the operations of the Kapalama Heights campus.

Moon met briefly with six representatives of the protest group and again reiterated that although the state's five high court justices do appoint trustees of one of the richest nonprofit organizations in the country, the court has no power or authority to interfere in Bishop Estate's daily opera tions.

Addressing a crowd of more than 500 at Kawaiahao Plaza, headquarters of the Bishop Estate, Roy Benham, one of the group's organizers, said there were three major concerns:

Return the management of the Kamehameha Schools, with a student enrollment of nearly 4,000, to its principals and its popular president, Michael Chun.

Reinstate "talk story" sessions, where the Bishop Estate trustees meet openly with alumni, parents and students. (Two recent meetings slated for May 13 and May 15 during the height of the current controversy were canceled.)

Lift the shroud of retribution and vindictiveness that makes Kamehameha faculty, staff and others fearful of expressing "their thoughts and concerns."

Benham presented former Senate President Richard Wong, chairman of the Bishop Estate board of trustees, with those and other written concerns.

Wong said the trustees would review them.

Fred Cachola, a retired Kamehameha Schools staff member, also gave Wong written concerns from Kamehameha Schools faculty members.

Their request to send a representative to participate in yesterday's three-mile march from the Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu Valley had been rejected by trustees.

"Let our absence here today speak louder than words ever could," Cachola read from a brief statement released by some faculty members.

Elisa Yadao, Bishop Estate spokeswoman, said part of the reason for the rejection possibly was the end of school year demands and upcoming finals.

Following the rally, Benham, who graduated in the class of 1941, said he was satisfied with yesterday's events.

"I think we have their attention," Benham said. "They are going to have to do something."

Benham said it's important that the trustees restore the talk story sessions.

Also of equal importance is "the school's need to be autonomous" with only guidance coming from the five trustees. At the center of the controversy are charges that trustees, especially Lokelani Lindsey, a former Maui schools district superintendent, has been micromanaging the operations.

The trustees have maintained that the administration of Kamehameha Schools and the estate rests solely with them, Yadao repeated yesterday.

"They are accountable for every facet of this organization and its operations and they conduct themselves in the manner which they deem most prudent," she said.

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