Gathering Place

Serena A. Trehern

University of Hawaii-West Oahu students gathered yesterday to protest the possible closure of their school. (See story in News)

Don’t close the door
on West Oahu students

Since 1976, University of Hawaii-West Oahu has provided an excellent educational resource to many students. West Oahu has existed for more than 25 years, and now some political figures want to shut the doors of this inspirational campus. It would not be economically feasible, socially influential or even politically plausible to shut this campus down. Instead, it would result in the loss of jobs, fewer educational opportunities and less economic growth for the Leeward side.

I am currently a UH-West Oahu student, and I would not have it any other way. When I was trying to decide which school to attend for my bachelor's degree, I received good advice from my professors at Windward Community College. I had to choose between West Oahu and UH-Manoa. I chose West Oahu because of the small class sizes, the personal feeling of the school, the accessibility of the campus compared to UH-Manoa and the positive things that I heard about the campus from Windward Community College teachers. But the one thing that influenced my decision the most was one of my teachers at WCC who really believed in the quality of education at West Oahu. I am glad that I took that advice, because I have been more than impressed with the quality of education and instruction I have received.

It seems to me as though some of the regents are trying to divert our attention from the issue at hand, which is whether to build a new campus. They seem to be putting us on the defensive so we can focus on the threat of them closing the existing campus, instead of focusing on a new campus. This type of threat is incomprehensible to me, since our campus takes so little money to operate (only 3 percent of the UH budget). It does not seem plausible even to suggest shutting down a campus that requires so little to run and is such an asset to the community.

It really saddens me to see some of our government officials not fighting for what their constituents want and believe in. It bothers me that some of our elected officials are not upholding what their voters have asked for and need. Education provides more than knowledge -- it helps to develop the character of future leaders, those who will one day lead our state or even our nation. It is disturbing to see some of our own regents threatening this important institution that provides so many possibilities -- for our generation and for generations to come.

Serena A. Trehern is a psychology major at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu.


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