Thursday, June 21, 2001

HHSAA rule on
meetings is criticized

An attorney says the athletic
association's policy violates
the state's sunshine law

By Bruce Dunford
Associated Press

An attorney specializing in civil rights and gender equity issues is challenging the Hawaii High School Athletic Association's policy on public access to its meetings.

Jill Nunokawa was told by the association's executive director, Keith Amemiya, that she cannot attend today's executive board meeting because she did not give the required seven-day notice. He suggested she might be arrested if she tries.

"Given your recent legal problems, any attempt by you to attend our board meeting, despite being expressly told not to, and any ensuing intervention by the police or the meeting venue's security personnel may very well exacerbate your criminal situation," Amemiya told Nunokawa in a letter on Monday. The "situation" refers to Nunokawa's pending trial on a drunken-driving charge.

Nunokawa said she wants again to press the board about compliance with Title IX, the federal law mandating equal opportunities for males and females in public school athletics.

Amemiya said he brought up the criminal issue intending that the letter be "strongly worded to discourage her from trying to attend the meeting and to encourage her to bring her issues before the board at its next meeting."

"I have no intention of having anyone arrested," he said in a telephone interview.

Nunokawa, a civil rights counselor at the University of Hawaii, and citizens lobby group Common Cause Hawaii held a news conference yesterday charging that the seven-day notice requirement violates the state's sunshine law requiring public access to meetings held by government agencies.

E-mail to City Desk

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