Rainbow over the valley

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is creating a commission composed of faculty, students, staff and administrators to address “challenging and sometimes polarizing issues” on campus. UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno issued a campus-wide message Monday, December 9, calling for nominations for campus community members to serve on the commission. (See the email below)

“The events of the last several months have highlighted the need for Mānoa to reflect on how we have responded as a community to challenging and sometimes polarizing issues, including but not limited to TMT, and how we want to move forward together.” said Bruno in a campus-wide message. “While this is a difficult time, we need to be proactive and address these issues head on, for the sake of our campus community.”

Bruno said the commission will be charged with approaching the issues from multiple perspectives, leveraging many existing resources and ongoing initiatives, adding that it is imperative that all voices on our campus be heard.

“I understand that this will be hard work, but I firmly believe that we are up to the task, and that we will emerge stronger as a result,” said Bruno.

Please send nominations, including a brief statement of your interest in serving, to provost@hawaii.edu by January 16, 2020. You must be a member of the UH Mānoa community—faculty, student, staff or administrator—to apply.

Email sent by Provost Michael Bruno to the Mānoa campus

Aloha Mānoa campus ʻohana

The events of the last several months have highlighted the need for UH Mānoa to reflect on how we have responded as a community to challenging and sometimes polarizing issues, including but not limited to TMT, and how we want to move forward together. While this is a difficult time, we need to be proactive and address these issues head on, for the sake of our campus community. There have been many public and not-so-public examples of divides on our campus, with members of our community feeling marginalized, silenced and disrespected. We ask ourselves: is this who we are? How has our past led us to this place? And most importantly, where do we want to go in the days, weeks and months ahead? The answers to these questions will require the honesty and fortitude to reflect on the past, and the wisdom to find a path forward.

I am creating a commission composed of faculty, students, staff and administrators to examine these matters in an honest, open and rigorous manner. The commission will be charged with approaching the issues from multiple perspectives, leveraging many existing resources and ongoing initiatives, including but not limited to the work of the Campus Climate Committee, Kūaliʻi Council, Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED) of Student Affairs, and the plan that was developed and is being implemented by the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center team. I anticipate that the commission will, among many possible actions, consider:

  • The expansion of efforts to assess and address racism and bias on our campus;
  • The determination of which strategies are working and where we need new or changed policies, procedures, accountability, advocacy and support;
  • The creation of new projects and initiatives that can bring our students, faculty, staff and administrators together to develop educational programs around the issues we face;
  • The development of recommendations to the provost for direct action based upon the findings.

As an important first step, I will ask the commission to conduct a series of town halls with our students, faculty, staff and administrators in order to create a space for individuals to articulate their experiences and concerns.

For the commission to be successful, it is imperative that all voices on our campus be heard. We may find ourselves in vigorous debates where people will disagree, as the issues we are examining undoubtedly have deep roots. With that in mind, this work will hold at its core a commitment to a genuinely open-ended inquiry of issues of bias facing communities on our campus, the engagement of people as individuals (recognizing that there are diverse opinions within groups), and the conduct of complex conversations in a reasoned and rigorous fashion. I understand that this will be hard work, but I firmly believe that we are up to the task, and that we will emerge stronger as a result.

I am here asking for nominations from the Mānoa community to serve on the commission. Self-nominations are welcome. I cannot predict where this effort will lead us; nor will I try to navigate it in any particular direction. I can promise that your time will be well spent, your voice will be heard and the findings and recommendations will lead to action.

Please send your nominations, including a brief statement of your interest in serving, to Provost@hawaii.edu by close of business on January 16, 2020.

Mahalo,
Michael Bruno
UH Mānoa Provost