Why does UHPA invest in legislative activities?
In an ideal world, University of Hawaii faculty would be able to focus on what they do best—research and teaching—and they would in turn receive the appreciation and professional respect due them. This would be reflected in favorable public policies and state appropriations that support the UH, its faculty and programs.
Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. It has been imperative for UHPA, which represents the faculty, to step forward to intervene, defend and proactively shape legislation to ensure faculty are being treated respectfully.
Upcoming Session Requires Ongoing Vigilance
You can count on the UHPA team to continue to be involved on behalf of faculty in the upcoming legislative session, which begins Wednesday, January 15, 2020, and continues through Thursday, May 7, 2020. It will be an intense, 60-day period that requires vigilance, tenacity, perseverance. Here is the schedule for the 2020 legislative session.
Top three reasons UHPA is actively involved in the legislature:
- The University of Hawaii is an autonomous organization, but initial funding decisions rest in the hands of state legislators, particularly those who are on the Senate and House Committees on Higher Education. Since many do not differentiate between the UH administration and UH faculty, legislation designed to hold the UH administration accountable may have the unintended consequence of adversely impacting UH faculty. It is important UHPA makes this distinction by ensuring UH faculty have their own collective voice in the legislature.
- UH administration and UHPA should be tied at the hip when approaching legislators. What is good for UH is good for UH faculty, and vice versa. However, we know UH administration and UH faculty have not been unified. UH faculty have had to fend for themselves to avoid having their rights trampled upon by legislators. We remain hopeful one day faculty can feel confident that UH administration has their back and will support their rights while also supporting the UH.
- A quick glance at the types of legislation proposed in the upcoming session reveals that we will be starting off the new year and new decade with some tough challenges. Many of the bills being introduced relate to funding UH programs. We will be closely monitoring bills, actively providing testimony, and having heart-to-heart, one-to-one meetings with legislators this coming session.
For your reference, follow this link to see the legislative bills affecting UH programs and faculty.