Mention the term, “political endorsements” to some faculty, and you may get a virulent reaction. These faculty may believe we should not have to stoop to being involved with such dirty, messy processes.
Unfortunately, that may be the same reason many in Hawaii do not actively engage in the political process and voter turnout remains low, even with our state’s change to mail-in ballots. Some may see the political process as a waste of time and not worthy of their time and attention. They willingly relinquish their rights to those who are willing to dive into the process. Unfortunately, this means many do not have a say in who leads our state or makes decisions that directly impact faculty. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to more disenchantment with the political system.
Rationale for Political Endorsements
Faculty, of all voters, should understand and appreciate the rationale for political endorsements. UHPA carefully reviews and vets candidates to determine who is willing to listen and understand the perspectives of UH faculty. Our Political Endorsement Committee now includes members of UHPA’s board of directors to ensure broad representation of views in endorsement recommendations that are presented for a vote before the full board.
Endorsements are important to candidates. They count on endorsements from credible organizations because it shows they have the substantial backing— either financial support, volunteer campaign support, and ultimately, voter support—to win in their respective race. When others see this, they also want to support a winning candidate.
Improving Favorable Outcomes
Supporting candidates that are supportive of UH faculty is no guarantee of getting what we need, but it enhances our ability to be heard on critical issues and improves our likelihood of having outcomes favorable for faculty.
Five Ways to Be a Part of the Political Process
You can play a key role in stopping elected government officials from making uninformed decision-making that have negative consequences for faculty. Here are five ways faculty can be a part of the political process:
- Just getting through your own set of challenges within your department and managing your own priorities can be challenging enough as a UH faculty member. Rise to the challenge of becoming engaged with our external political environment—all the things that affect the UH outside of the UH.
- Be informed about who is introducing or advocating for policies or practices that support or harm UH faculty. The UHPA team is also doing the same and chances are you will have the same views for political endorsements.
- Feel free to discuss this within you Primary Academic Unit (PAU) so that it can be rolled up for discussion at the Faculty Forum. Your input may be enlightening or confirm what others may also feel about prospective candidates.
- Consider becoming actively involved in supporting candidates. This could be sign waving, being involved with their fundraisers, or other activities that a candidate may require support.
- Vote. Complete the endorsement process by voting for the candidate. Imagine if every UHPA member voted and all supported a candidate. That would be more than 3,500 votes that could push them way ahead of an opposing candidate.