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The House Committee on Higher Education and
Ways and Means
Thursday, February 15, 2018
10:00 AM, Room 211

RE: SB 2865 Relating to the Institute for Astronomy

Attention: Chairs Kai Kahele and Donovan Dela Cruz, Vice Chairs, Donna Mercado Kim and
Gilbert Keith-Agaran and Members of the respective Committees

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) opposes SB 2865, 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 O‘ahu 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 SB 2865.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Executive Director