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HB 2047 Relating to the Institute for Astronomy

The House Committee on Higher Education

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

2:00 p.m., Room 309

RE: HB 2047 Relating to the Institute for Astronomy

Attention:    Chair Angus McKelvey, Vice Chair Mark Hashem and

                    Members of the Committee

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) opposes HB 2047, that

transfers administrative authority, personnel, and all facilities for the Institute for Astronomy at UH Mānoa to UH Hilo.

UHPA believes that this is a significant legislative breach by elected officials  that undermines the autonomy of the University of Hawai‘i and harms the academic standing of the program and its’ faculty members. The proposal which provides for implementation on June 30, 2018 is an attack on faculty members contractual and academic rights with the Legislature improperly substituting their judgement for that of  UH Mānoa officials and Institute for Astronomy faculty members.

IfA is a world renowned program with both undergraduate and graduate programs.A shift to UH Hilo may well negatively impact student recruitment and faculty retention. UH Mānoa provides significant resources for discovery and learning that are not easily transferred nor replicated at UH Hilo.

Many employees have made decisions to live in Hawai‘i based on an Oahu location. To assume employees will follow this legislative dictate and relocate is probably a misperception.

Efforts to expand education opportunities at UH Hilo have already begun but these do not require the transplanting of the totality of IfA to that physical location. While the Big Island needs more jobs this is not the manner in which to engage in economic expansion by undermining a successful academic endeavor.

UHPA opposes HB 2047.                                                                     

Respectfully Submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman

Executive Director