Alumni stood up
by Bishop trustees

Brandt and Rubin have joined
the Kamehameha alumni group

By Debra Barayuga and Gregg K. Kakesako

Two prominent members of the Hawaiian community have joined a group of Kamehameha Schools alumni who are trying to meet with Bishop Estate trustees to express concerns over the management of the Kapalama Heights campus.

Last night, Gladys Brandt, former principal of Kamehameha School for Girls, and Winona Rubin, former head of the Department of Human Services and Alu Like, added their support to the growing discontentment over the way the trustees are running operations of the 4,000-member private school.

Members of Na Pua a Pauahi have been waiting since Friday for a meeting with trustees. A highly anticipated session today failed to materialize.

"We are all disappointed," group spokesman Roy Benham said today. "We felt that they backed down on their offer."

Last week, trustees board chairman Richard Wong had told some 700 alumni and supporters, who had staged a 3-mile protest march to Bishop Estate headquarters, that a meeting would take place today.

But Wong hasn't returned any phone calls since then, Benham said today.

Benham said his group still hopes to meet with the trustees before month's end.

The trustees previously have canceled annual "talk story" sessions on May 13 and 15 because alumni -- concerned over allegations that trustees were infringing on the duties of the school's administration -- were gearing to attend, Benham said yesterday. "Auwe, they took away our stage."

The trustees have asked that no more than 12 members of the group meet with them at the Bishop Estate offices at Kawaiahao Plaza. Benham said that his group has no problems with that request.

Up to 25 members of the steering committee of Na Pua a Pauahi met last night at Kawaiahao Church to agree on a strategy and what their role in the process will be, Benham said. "We're interested in the method the trustees are setting up in order to resolve the conflicts within the school and Bishop Estate. We want to be sure they set up a mechanism to do that."

Benham said they will ask the trustees to resume the "talk story" sessions "for all alumni for the purpose for which they were originally scheduled, and return administration of the schools back to the president and principals under the broad umbrella of the trustees."

They have all along agreed that the responsibilities of Kamehameha Schools belong to the trustees overall, Benham said. "But it doesn't mean the trustees go down there and manipulate and run the school."

The group also wants to discuss the trustees' decision to ask the state courts to appoint former Circuit Judge Patrick Yim as an independent fact-finder into the controversy.

A June 13 hearing before Circuit Judge Colleen Hirai to decide on Yim's appointment could be moved earlier, said Elisa Yadao, Bishop Estate spokeswoman.

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