McDonalds Thanks All Educators With Free Items

UHPA received the following from authorized representatives of McDonalds and are passing it on unedited to our members:

FREE McDonald’s Hot or Iced Coffee & Two Cookies
For All Teachers/Educators: May 8 – 12

McDonald’s of Hawaii is thanking all educators statewide – during National Teacher Appreciation Week – for championing Hawaii’s youth and future leaders.

From May 8 (Monday) to May 12 (Friday), simply present your valid school I.D. at any McDonald’s for a FREE medium hot coffee OR medium iced coffee PLUS two chocolate chip cookies.

One redemption per person, per day. No purchase is necessary. The offer is available all day either at the drive-thru or at the front counter.

Dates: May 8 – 12, 2023

Times: All day (restaurant hours vary by location)  

Locations: All 73 McDonald’s on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai  

For more of your favorites and great deals all year-round, download the McDonald’s app and sign-up for the MyMcDonald’s Rewards program.


EUTF Rates & Bylaws Voting Results Published

EUTF Voting Results 

Published on 4/14/23, the results are as follows:

Should the terms of the EUTF Tentative Agreement effective July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025 be accepted?

  • 99.4% voted in favor
  • 0.6% voted to reject

Your new EUTF Rates

Based on the now-ratified EUTF Agreement, these are the rates going into effect on July 1, 2023.  EUTF Active Open Enrollment ends on Friday, May 12, 2023.  Get more information about EUTF Active Open Enrollment.  

Amended and Restated Bylaws Results

Published on 4/21/23, the results are as follows:

Should the Proposed Resolution to Adopt the Revised Amended and Restated Bylaws of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Be Approved?

  • 97.7% voted in favor
  • 2.3% voted not in favor

Last Chance To Register For The UHPA Annual Membership Meeting

Reminder to UHPA Members

Notice of Annual Membership Meeting

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly will hold its 49th Annual Membership Meeting via Zoom webinar:  

Friday, April 14, 2023

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

This is a reminder that as an UHPA member you were sent an invitation on 3/23 via email to join us for UHPA’s virtual Annual Membership Meeting as we present UHPA’s new Board Members and annual reports. 

How to Attend

To attend the virtual zoom webinar, you must have a zoom account (either your UH account or non-edu is OK) to register using this link before April 12, 2023 11:59 pm. For security purposes, please be sure you register with your name and an email address UHPA has on file. Once you register, UHPA staff will verify names and email addresses. Only verified names and emails of UHPA Members will be approved.  Once you are approved, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

The Zoom Webinar will be open at 11:25 a.m.  Be sure you are logged into your email account that you registered with when logging into the Zoom Webinar or Zoom will not allow you access. 

We hope you will join us! If you have any difficulty in registering, please contact UHPA Staff Member Kathy Yamashita.

UHPA Helps Member Erase $272,000 in Student Loans

University of Hawai‘i-West Oahu

Associate Professor of Community Health, Dr. Camonia Graham-Tutt, CHES

Gets $272,000 in Student Loans Erased through

Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

It pays to be a UHPA member! Dr. Camonia Graham-Tutt received valuable information and assistance from the special information sessions, offered as an exclusive benefit to UHPA members. The sessions were offered by UHPA, through a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) last year. Even though loan forgiveness falls outside the scope of services offered by a union, UHPA recognized it could help improve the quality of life for faculty. As Dr. Graham-Tutt’s story shows, loan forgiveness is like receiving a huge wage increase, or winning the lottery! 

Dr. Camonia Graham-Tutt, a University of Hawai‘i-West O‘ahu community health professor, has a noticeable pep in her walk these days now that a huge financial burden has been lifted off her shoulders. Her outstanding student debt totaling $271,785.49 has been zeroed out, thanks to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

“This is my golden ticket,” she said, proudly holding up her official letter dated January 2, 2023, documenting the cancellation of her debt. “This is such a blessing.”

Dr. Graham-Tutt said she can now focus on “balancing life” by investing in her daughter’s education and well-being, planning for her retirement, and giving more to the community health scholarship fund she started to support for UH-West O‘ahu students who need help with covering the costs of tuition and textbooks for their courses. 

Unshackled from Student Debt

Gone are the days when Dr. Graham-Tutt had to set aside funds for loan repayments for tuition and living expenses incurred when she was earning her master’s degree in health science education at Baylor University, a private research university in Waco, Texas, and a doctorate degree in medical sociology from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Before that liberating day, she had been diligently striving to lower the amount she owed. Ever resourceful, Dr. Graham-Tutt brought down her debt by a few thousand dollars by serving as a volunteer at health clinics in Kailua and Waimanalo through the AmeriCorps/VISTA program, which provides loan forgiveness in exchange for serving those in underserved communities.

“The loan forgiveness could not have happened to a more deserving faculty member,” said Christian Fern, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly executive director. “Dr. Graham-Tutt has given so much to her students and to Hawai‘i.”

Serving the Local Community

Dr. Graham-Tutt originally had aspirations of being a pediatrician, but knew she could also make an impact through the field of community health as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), focusing on the social determinants of health — all of the factors that affect a person’s whole health to improve health equity. She has successfully designed and implemented sustainable community health education programs that deliver positive benefits to vulnerable communities.

Stepping Forward in the Midst of the Pandemic

During the pandemic, after successfully completing certification programs in contact tracing from Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University, Dr. Graham-Tutt participated in a contact tracing program in Hawai‘i. She was a part of the efforts to educate roughly 159 individuals, including those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, had retired or were working with organizations in need of contact tracer education. She helped to equip them with knowledge on the basics of community health and epidemiology to prepare them to reach out to those who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The sessions were all taught by Zoom in the evenings, during the day, and on weekends to best accommodate people’s schedules over the course of a year.

“There were several aha moments when we realized that we had to quickly pivot and tailor our courses to suit an array of learning styles, ethnic groups and cultures. It was truly a humbling experience to teach so many of our community members simply wanting to be a part of the solution.”

Before her current position with UH-West O‘ahu, Dr. Graham-Tutt served as a postdoctoral fellow and researcher at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center; a faculty fellow at the University of Texas Arlington, Arlington, Texas; and a research assistant for the  Black Women’s Health Imperative in Washington, D.C.

Early Influences

Dr. Graham-Tutt, born in Texas, grew up in a “home where education was always pushed.”  Her parents both received undergraduate degrees; however, they would often share: “You need to do better than us.” Dr. Graham-Tutt took their advice to heart and pursued a master’s degree and then her doctorate degree.  

Good Mentors and Friends

Dr. Florence B. Bonner, Professor Emeritus, past VP of Research and Compliance and chair of the Department of Sociology at Howard University, took Dr. Graham-Tutt under her wings, putting her in touch with organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and many nonprofit organizations.

“Dr. Bonner nudged me and gave me so many life-changing experiences. We were so close as mentor and mentee that people would think we were mother and daughter,” Dr. Graham-Tutt laughed, noting that the two have stayed in touch for the past 20 years and that even her parents have met with this mentor at her house as friends.

Doing the Same for Students

Dr. Graham-Tutt, or Dr. C., as she is affectionately known by her students, knows the power of having appropriate role models and she strives to give her students the same kind of positive experiences that she had as a student. Dr. C. will seek role models with similar cultures and backgrounds for her West O‘ahu students to emulate. She introduced the Student Research and Creative Works Symposium at UH-West O‘ahu to give students the same support she received as a student to help them achieve their research goals. 

The Story Behind the Story

The loan forgiveness program has definitely opened doors to a new life for those who worked for a government institution for at least 10 years. However, public servants may not have realized that this concession was made possible as a result of a lawsuit filed by Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million member-American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union, against Besty DeVos, who had been serving as secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. The legal complaint was based on the U.S.’s failure to keep its promise to students about forgiving their loans after 10 years of public service.

Weingarten prevailed and the Biden administration was intent on implementing the program. (DevVos resigned from her position the day after the pro-Trump mob stormed the White House to attempt to stop Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. She publicly denounced former President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection violence.)

To ensure all public universities were aware of the benefits and eligibility requirements of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, AFT reached out to UHPA last year to partner together to host a series of informational sessions about the program for UH faculty.

Dr. Graham-Tutt was one of the first to sign up and attend the informational session held at UH West O’ahu. Dr. Graham-Tutt filled out the simple form and hoped for the best. To her surprise, she was notified a week later —with the good news about her loan.  She cautiously held off from celebrating until she received her official notification in writing at the beginning of this year.

Could Your Lucky Day Be on the Horizon?

For UHPA members who have missed out on the October 31st PSLF Limited Waiver deadline, there’s still more time to apply. Some provisions under the waiver have been extended through July 2023! Plus, it’s even better than before — now past payments on Parent PLUS loans are eligible to be counted under the waiver!

UHPA, in collaboration with AFT, offers a student loan benefit through a free and secure online platform called Summer for UHPA members who have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity.  The program helps you manage your student loan debt with simple tools and a dedicated team of experts who are ready to offer support.

Summer specializes in helping employees earn Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with complete coverage, from checking eligibility to submitting necessary forms online. It also assists you with yearly recertification after enrollment to ensure all requirements are met.


Not a member yet? Join now via this instant membership online form.. Are you already a member but can’t access the content? Click here to troubleshoot or just call our office.


Defending Against Micromanagement of UH

Holding Power In Check to Protect UH Faculty

UHPA is not afraid to speak up to those who abuse their power since it ensures those with  authority stay in their lane. As the exclusive bargaining representative for UH faculty, UHPA never hesitates to voice our concerns when there is a threat to UH faculty.

UHPA was asked by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (“Key state senators call for University of Hawaii President Lassner to resign” see also PrintReplica link) to share our perspectives about a few Hawai‘i State senators who are asking for UH President David Lassner’s resignation.

Unwarranted Attacks on UH Hurts Us All

Any unwarranted public attack on the UH President is an attack on the entire UH community with potential negative implications on funding for the UH.  These irresponsible actions by a few legislators give our families pause to consider sending their children to UH. Who would want to attend a university that legislators keep (falsely) accusing of waste and ineffectiveness? A recent Star-Advertiser editorial has similar sentiments: 

“Senate committee leaders, who do help shape the budget enacted for the university, thus should back off their impulse to micromanage policy decisions, the hiring of the president chief among them. This public airing of tensions could damage perceptions about UH among research funding institutions and the general public.”

Unclear, unwise attack on Lassner” see also PrintReplica link

Let’s Recognize Positive Accomplishments

While we have had our differences with the UH administration, we have always managed to reach amicable solutions. We expressed our support for the UH and the progress we have made in delivering results for Hawai‘i students and research in collaboration with the President and the UH Administration, particularly during the pandemic. The senators should recognize the President’s accomplishments as a result of the meaningful and productive collaboration with UHPA faculty and the positive impact it has had on the students obtaining degrees, diplomas and certificates to enter the workforce here in Hawai‘i. UH is high in national rankings and our families should feel proud to send their children to any one of the ten campuses in the UH System.

A Deeper, Recurring Challenge

We see a recurring pattern that is very disturbing – something that is much deeper and seething. These disrespectful attempts of legislative micromanagement are a flagrant disregard of the established governance structure of the UH system. 

The UH Structure Was Designed to Protect Against This

While lawmakers are certainly entitled to their opinions, there are legal limits to their authority. The UH Board of Regents is constitutionally empowered with exclusive management of the UH system. The governance structure of the UH was intentionally designed to maintain order and stability for the UH.  These protocols must remain in place to prevent any circumventions that will usurp the authority of the Board of Regents and allow legislative micromanagement of UH affairs .

UH Autonomy is Backed by the State Constitution

The Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article X (Education), Section 6 clearly defines the power of the UH Board of Regents:

The board shall have the power to formulate policy, and to exercise control over the university through its executive officer, the president of the university, who shall be appointed by the board.  The board shall also have exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management, and operation of the university.”

And Supported by Hawai‘i Law

The current Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) under §304A-105 further validates this: 

“The board of regents shall have management and control of the general affairs, and exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management, and operation of the university.”

We Will Protect Faculty 

UHPA will always vehemently defend our faculty against unfair attacks by lawmakers. We point to our UHPA-BOR Agreement agreement based on Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS), Chapter 89, §89-6(d)(4), which defines the Employer as: the Governor, the UH Board of Regents, and the UH President.  There is no law that defines legislators as the UH Employer. 

We’re purposely putting this in big, bold type so everyone understands: 

UHPA Will Staunchly Defend Faculty Against Micromanagement, Especially From Legislators.

Sarah Beamer Joins UHPA as Assistant Executive Director

Sarah Beamer, an attorney with 10 years of government and political experience that included serving as executive director of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, has joined the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) as an assistant executive director. She is the newest member of the UHPA leadership team, reporting to Christian Fern, UHPA’s executive director. 

Debi Hartmann, UHPA associate executive director, who plans to retire in mid-2023, is serving as Beamer’s mentor and advisor to ensure a smooth transition for the union that represents more than 3,000 UH faculty members. 

“We’re glad to welcome Sarah to our UHPA team to support our growing number of members across all 10 University of Hawai‘i campuses statewide,” Fern said. “She brings valuable qualities to UHPA — a passion for advocacy, commitment to supporting Hawaii families, meticulous attention to detail, and experience with developing and managing complex programs.”

Prior to joining UHPA, Beamer had been with the state’s Hawaii Public Housing Authority since 2016, serving in various roles, including compliance and evaluation specialist, acting Section 8 branch chief, and housing planner. She collaborated with branch chiefs, consultants, and the state’s Office of the Attorney General to review and amend administrative rules, and provided research, analysis, and interpretation of federal, state, and county laws.

Beamer also served in the legislature from 2014 to 2016, as a bills research analyst for the Senate Committees on Judiciary and Labor, Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, and Transportation and Labor, and as a deputy bills chief for the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

She also held a number of positions in the Democratic Party of Hawaii, including that of compliance director and executive director, and was responsible for developing and managing the Democratic State Biennial Convention from 2010 to 2014.

Beamer, a downtown Honolulu resident, received a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and a bachelor of arts degree in history with minors in international studies and political science, both from Loyola University Chicago; and earned a law degree from the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law.

In Memory of Tony Gill

IN MEMORIAM Tony Gill: A Friend and Advocate of UHPA, UH Faculty and the Labor Community

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Tony Gill on Feb. 6, 2023, who represented UHPA for over 40 years, ending his hard fought and courageous battle to overcome cancer. He was 72. 

UHPA’s Attorney of Record

Tony, who was a founding partner with the law firm Gill, Zukeran & Sgan, was instrumental in guiding UHPA and its faculty members through difficult collective bargaining negotiations and representing UHPA as well as individual faculty members in contentious Hawaii Labor Relations Board hearings, in the state courts of Hawai‘i, and before both the Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tony Gill

Champion of Public Employees

“Tony was a staunch advocate of UHPA and UH faculty members,” said UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern. “He meticulously pored over legal documents and developed articulate and strategic responses to support UHPA faculty members. No piece of information escaped his attention and his razor-sharp mind, and yet he always maintained a sense of humor even in the most trying times. He was a champion of fairness and equity, and he will be dearly missed.”     

Transformational Legal Figure in the Public Sector

JN Musto, UHPA’s former executive director who retired in 2015 after serving the faculty union for 35 years, said: “Tony will be remembered as more than the eldest son of Congressman and Lt. Governor Tom Gill.  Tony’s ideas, intelligence, and legal skills forged meaning into Hawai‘i’s public sector labor law that has benefited all public employees beyond just the employment conditions of the faculty members he represented at the University of Hawai‘i.  This malihini and the local boy formed both a professional and personal relationship that made us both more effective members of the labor union community.”

A Lifetime of Accomplishments

Tony’s influence left a lasting impact on faculty and the broader community. Some of Tony’s most notable events and accomplishments include:

  • Tom Gillʻs and Tony Gill’s defense of the arbitration and enforcement of the Unit 7 collective bargaining agreement before the Hawaii State Supreme Court that granted UHPA faculty member Alice Daeufer’s tenure. 
  • Tonyʻs appearance in Hawaii Federal District Court upholding the terms of the Unit 7  collective bargaining agreement and preventing Ben Cayetano’s unilateral implementation of the payroll lag on faculty members. 
  • Tony’s participation in the preparation of both the first and second UHPA faculty member strikes, and legal work protecting the rights of faculty members while they were out on strike from dismissal and retribution.  
  • Tonyʻs oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 9th Circuit in defense of having closed primary elections limited to the registered members of the candidates’ political parties. Unfortunately, he didn’t prevail, so Hawai‘i remains an open primary and you do not have to be a party member to vote in determining the party’s candidates.

A Great Loss For Us All

Tony is survived by his wife, Ashley Maynard, sons Thomas and Michael; sister Andrea, brothers Eric, Ivan, Tim and Gary. Information about a celebration of life service will be made available when details are finalized. 
Our deepest sympathy and condolences to the entire Gill ‘Ohana.

UH Faculty are Crucial to Biosecurity

The article below was submitted and published by Civil Beat on 2/2/23, “Combating Invasive Species A Priority For UH Faculty

The decisions made within the walls of the State Capitol have far-reaching implications for UH faculty and affect everyone and everything in Hawai‘i, now and for future generations. Throughout this legislative session, UHPA will explain how proposed legislation affects our quality of life and why it is imperative for UH faculty and community members to stand together and advocate for our island home. The following article is the first in this legislative session.

Creatures with Bad Habits Ruining Our Paradise

Invasive species have stealthily entered our islands and wreaked havoc on our environment and economy. It’s a serious problem that threatens native plants, animals, and locally grown crops. Their impact threatens our state’s food security and resilience.

UH Faculty are Crucial to Biosecurity

Combating the increasing number of invasive species is a priority for UH faculty. Fortunately, UH faculty members are already engaged in research and activities addressing many of these threats. However, they are hampered by ongoing inadequate state budget allocations which further erode our efforts to improve our state’s food security. Climate change will only exacerbate this funding problem by bringing even more invasive species to our shores.  

Hawai‘i Must Invest in Biosecurity

Biosecurity experts testifying at a Jan. 26 legislative informational session noted that the prevention efforts for the brown tree snake, miconia, little fire ant, and red imported fire ant, as well as other initiatives in the state’s biosecurity plan, are estimated to cost $38 million. The Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture combined typically receive less than 2% of the state’s operating budget. 

The takeaway from the session jointly held by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment and House Committees on Energy & Environmental Protection, Agriculture & Food Systems, and Land & Water: Hawai’i urgently needs to invest in biosecurity.  

Restore and Fill Critical UH Faculty Positions Now

A Honolulu Civil Beat article on this crucial issue aptly noted: “Take the University of Hawaii: It lost 70 positions over the course of the pandemic within the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Many of those roles — research among them — inform strategies to increase biosecurity. It has since recovered 21 positions.” Read the full article here. It is important to note a university-wide hiring freeze during the pandemic did not help this.

The Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council, established 20 years ago by the University of Hawai‘i and the state Departments of Land & Natural Resources, Agriculture, Health, Transportation and Business, Economic Development & Tourism, has designated February as Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Month to highlight the myths about invasive species impacting our islands.

Funding Realities on the Frontlines of Research

UHPA President David Duffy, a UH professor in the Botany Department and a graduate professor in zoology, ecology, evolution, and conservation biology, is well acquainted with tenuous funding for research. He directed the UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, now in the School of Life Sciences, for more than 20 years and helped to establish and manage the invasive species committees on all the islands, which serve as the first line of defense against newly invasive species.

The Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit also helped found and manage the watershed partnerships on each island to ensure a safe drinking water supply for Hawai‘i residents and businesses. In collaboration with the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Professor Duffy’s work also included nurturing the development of a Hawaiian Ant Lab, which provides expertise and research on preventing the establishment of little fire ants. 

“All of these groups depend on soft money from the state, counties, and the federal government,” he said. “This makes it difficult to plan and sustain operations from year to year.”

Honoring UH Faculty Biosecurity Heroes

We should also designate this month to recognize and appreciate the shrinking army of UH faculty who have been on the frontlines to combat invasive species and trying to fortify our defenses with the limited staff they currently have. When we eat our papaya at breakfast, sip our Kona coffee, or proudly “buy local” at the farmer’s market, let’s thank our UH faculty biosecurity heroes.

Rate My Administrator 2022 Published

UHPA members can now download the “2021 UHPA Rate My Administrator Surveys” PDF. Nearly 700 faculty members participated system-wide across all campuses. 

Summary of Findings

Market Trends Pacific – the company hired to conduct the survey now in its second year, summarized the results of the 2022 report thusly: 

“In this second year of fielding the Rate My Administrator survey, overall scores generally declined slightly, with larger changes (both positive and negative) at the campus level. In some cases, campus scores decreased substantially, which may merit further attention and/or monitoring over time.”

The summary report contains:

  • Highest and lowest scoring statements
  • Average score for each statement
  • Average scores by campus
  • Both overall satisfaction by average by campus
  • Likely to recommend
  • Profile of respondents

The results of this survey will be shared with the UH Administration. We intend to annually repeat this process and publish trends over time.

UHPA’s long-term goal is to use these trendlines on faculty feedback to identify where administrative performance has been demonstrated as well as where it requires attention and improvement.

For UHPA Members only:


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Membership Card Going Green

UHPA’s traditional paper membership cards are being replaced with our new “Membership eCard” that will be sent electronically via email. 

The UHPA Membership eCard is designed for mobile phones, much like today’s airline or movie tickets.  Just use your phone and pull up the email with the Subject “UHPA Membership eCard Enclosed”.

Should you need your card for any reason and can’t easily find it, just contact us at any time and you’ll get a refreshed version in your inbox. 

Sample UHPA Member eCard