Petition calls for
school changes

Organizers want Kamehameha
trustees to alter admissions standards
so more Hawaiians qualify

By Rick Daysog

Organizers of a petition calling for changes in the Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy said they have collected about 300 signatures since the trust announced Friday that it had admitted a non-Hawaiian student to its Maui campus.

Patrick Wong, an attorney in Wailuku, said he hopes to obtain about 1,000 signatures before submitting them to the estate's board of directors and Chief Executive Officer Hamilton McCubbin.

Wong, whose wife, Cynthia, graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1986, said the petition urges the estate to alter its admissions process so that more native Hawaiian children can qualify.

"We're not asking them to admit all Hawaiians or provide for all Hawaiians," added Dr. Maile Jachowski, a 1977 Kamehameha Schools graduate who co-authored the petition with Wong. "What we're asking for is to have (more) Hawaiians considered for admission."

The estate has apologized to the Hawaiian community for its handling of the decision and said it plans to step up its recruiting efforts and conduct a review of its admissions criteria and practices.

However, the estate's board said it will not reconsider its decision to admit Wailuku resident Kalani Rosell to its Maui campus.

Trust spokeswoman Marsha Bolson said that McCubbin and the estate's board have not yet seen the petition. But she noted that the board agrees with the petitioners in that it does not want to see a similar situation arise again.

The Kamehameha Schools, which was founded in 1884 by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, gives preference to students of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent allowed under laws governing tax-exempt organizations.

According to the trust, non-Hawaiians can be admitted when the list of qualified Hawaiian applicants is exhausted and space is available.

At a meeting Monday night at the schools' Kapalama Heights campus, Trustee Nainoa Thompson told an audience of about 600 concerned parents and alumni that the decision to admit a non-Hawaiian was made with an eye toward the schools' tax-exempt status.

Thompson noted previous challenges to the admissions policy that gives preference to native Hawaiians and said that if Kamehameha Schools lost its tax-exempt status because of the policy, it would cost the trust about $1 billion.

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