Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea begins today:
(Read more about the beginning of construction.)
Members of our campus communities and the general public have had different reactions and responses to this announcement. At all the University of Hawaiʻi campuses, we are steadfast in our mission of challenging students to reach their highest level of achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom. This means we must all embrace opportunities to have empathetic discussions about our disparate opinions, including those that oppose decisions made by the university and state.
We stand committed to the free and open exchange of ideas and affirm the rights of members of our community to engage in free speech and expression guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Hawaiʻi. UH has a clear and impressive history of diverse ideas, opinions and world views being expressed in different ways by members of our on-campus and extended community. We recognize that the issue of Maunakea and the construction of the TMT has and will continue to draw many into an open exchange of ideas and we encourage such dialogue in ways that are safe and respectful of different perspectives.
The safety of our faculty, staff and students is paramount. This includes emotional, intellectual and physical safety. UH provides support services for these situations, and those who experience emotional trauma or stress regarding this issue or any other issue should reach out to campus support services. Those who experience intimidation or harassment should contact on campus security and/or administration.
We commend those who have engaged in peaceful and non-disruptive protection of the things they hold dear and demonstration against things they oppose. In particular, we have been inspired by the Kapu Aloha that has been called for on the mauna. In anticipation of further peaceful demonstrations, UH has developed guidelines for faculty and staff, including student employees, with information in the event they encounter forms of expression that may alarm them or prevent them from accessing or leaving their place of employment.
As our state’s only public higher education system, UH has a deep responsibility to provide high-quality affordable education to advance our people, our communities and our islands. That mission requires that we support and celebrate peaceful dialogue, diverse perspectives and critical analysis, as we continue our work in teaching, learning, scholarship and service. Mahalo for all you do to contribute to this vibrant campus!