U H Manoa students

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Interim Chancellor David Lassner shared a message on January 18 to students, faculty and staff.

Aloha UH Mānoa community,

Happy new year! As we begin the spring 2019 semester, I want continue to encourage our community to strengthen our individual and collaborative efforts to foster an inclusive and welcoming learning and work environment. Inherent in such an environment is the need to be able to engage in respectful discussion with a diversity of views and opinions. This is part of what makes universities special, and represents a set of behaviors we can model for our broader community.

I have repeatedly reaffirmed our university’s firm stance that we are committed to providing a safe and inclusive work and learning environment, free from discrimination and intolerance. And as we stand in full support of diversity, we must also include diversity of opinion as we maintain a firm commitment to the rights of freedom of expression.

I charged a new Campus Climate Committee comprised of UH Mānoa students, faculty, staff and administrators to identify ways to advance our community with stronger mutual understanding and appreciation of our individual perspectives regarding free speech, campus climate and related matters. This group met throughout 2018, and I am pleased to announce the inauguration of the new initiative they have developed.

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia: Building our beloved campus community together was developed for UH Mānoa. The best translation is “No task is too big when many hands work together,” and this clearly reflects the values we have as a community in working collaboratively and respectfully to accomplish our mission and goals.

The kick-off event for ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia: Building our beloved campus community together will be on February 7, 2019 at the Campus Center Courtyard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be tables with helpful information sponsored by RIOs, university departments and others in support of this campus effort.

In addition, the following values have been selected for further exploration each month:

  • January and all semester long: ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia
  • February: Empowerment
  • March: Community
  • April: Respect

The Campus Climate Committee is working on programming each month for each of these values and we invite you to also create programming in your respective units and connect to this larger movement using the hashtag #UHMOhana. Let us truly build our beloved community together.

Part of the Campus Climate Committee programming will include social media postings and downloadable information on tips for having respectful discussions and disagreements, honoring first amendment rights, and UH Mānoa values. You will see these distributed throughout the semester.

All of us are encouraged to pause, take a moment and think about how we each can embrace and incorporate these values into our work and learning environments. This is how we can all fulfill the commitments reflected in our campus values to provide a safe and inclusive work and learning environment free from discrimination and intolerance, even as we respectfully listen and at times disagree.

David Lassner
President, University of Hawaiʻi