New ramp in Andrews Amphitheater provides increased accessibility

Clarification issued on May 2 at 9:55 a.m.: The print version of this article did not specify that COE Convocation Coordinator Aaron Levine said the last quote.

Wheelchair users can now access the Andrews Amphitheater’s stage thanks to efforts by the College of Education (COE) and the campus facilities office.

“I’m thrilled that this has happened,” said COE Convocation Coordinator Aaron Levine in a phone interview. “My understanding is there’s never been access to the stage at Andrews, and it’s been on campus for a long, long time, so this is, I think, an important milestone in Mānoa’s move to provide accessible venues for our students and families and faculty.”

A new ramp in the Diamond Head-mauka corner of the amphitheater connects the back area to the stage – an area COE Instructor Brian Kajiyama, who uses a wheelchair, hadn’t been able to access before. Previously, the only areas designated for wheelchair users were in the alcoves along the back of the raised seating area, leaving no way for a participant to access the stage or grass area.

Because of this, Kajiyama couldn’t always see his students after the COE’s yearly convocation event.

“I had to ask a peer to tell them to come up to see me, or there were times I was there but couldn’t tell them,” he said. “So I would get messages saying ‘I was hoping to see you at convocation,’ and I would explain: ‘I was there but I couldn’t come see you.’”

According to Levine, Andrews Amphitheater was chosen for the college’s event five or six years ago because it could accommodate more than 1,000 people. Each year, he received inquiries from people asking how they could access the event, including some from Kajiyama.

The ramp is a temporary fix and while there is no set date for it to be taken down, UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said it will likely happen over summer. In the meantime, facilities is looking at permanent solutions, though Meisenzahl is unsure of where it is on the priority list, especially since there are other ADA-compliant venues available, like Kennedy Theatre and Orvis Auditorium.

For now, this fix comes just in time for the college’s upcoming convocation on May 13.

“Andrews is just a gorgeous venue – very unique on the Mānoa campus. It also has historic significance, if you’ve ever been there at sunset, it’s just breathtaking,” Levine said. “So to provide all people with an opportunity to have access to that venue is really important.”

This article was published in the May 2, 2016 issue. 


What’s up with the changes to the campus budget model?

It’s not just the Athletics Department that’s running a deficit — after fiscal year 2014, nine other units at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa were operating in the red because they overspent what they were given.

This has caused fewer classes with higher numbers of students, according to David Chin, information and computer sciences (ICS) chairman and a Mānoa Faculty senate member, who says his department has grown 34 percent in the last three years in terms of instructional load.

“At this point we can’t simply add more seats to our classes anymore if they just all filled up. When you look at [the fall 2016 class availability webpage] for ICS in a few months, you’ll find all of our classes will have wait lists,” he said at the senate’s April 20 meeting. “…So that’s what it means in real terms for both students and faculty when we don’t have the right budget model.”

As the campus faces a hard time getting additional state funding, increased expenses and a historically-based budget, two groups are looking to change the way units receive money to spend – and they agree that students’ money should go back to benefit them.

Deficits FY 2014 V4
According to Meisenzahl, the units accumulated the deficits coming out of FY 2014. Numbers for FY 15 were unavailable. (Noelle Fujii/Ka Leo)

Arts and Sciences asks for more money

The fact that allocations given to units at the beginning of the fiscal year are less than operating costs has caused the Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate (ASFS) to pass two resolutions in March, one of which called on the chancellor to ask the legislature for a one-time infusion of $7.5 million for urgent fiscal relief of its four colleges.

These funds would be in addition to the current Arts and Sciences allocations and would not be offset by shifting other monies, the resolution said.

“For all the units, it was meant to be a one-time fusion of funds to bring us back to some level of health for one cycle,” said David Ross, a ASFS executive committee (EC) member and mathematics professor.

The hope was that moving to a new budget model would correct ongoing issues because allocations would be based on the actual expense of doing business.

CNS is in deficit because it overspent its official allocation on additional faculty, Ross said. In Languages, Linguistics and Literatures, faculty worked overtime and taught during summer so the college could pay for lecturers to teach general education courses, Ruth Hsu, an ASFSEC member, said.

“We’re providing [general education],” said, Aurelio Agcaoili, an Ilokano Language associate professor and ASFSEC member, said. “So the idea is that are we being recognized for the kind of services we’re doing for this university?”

All campus units are projected to spend within their budget allocations for this current fiscal year, according to UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

State has its hands tied

Rep. Isaac Choy said if he received the ASFS request at the beginning of the legislative session, he would have supported it.

Choy, who represents Mānoa, is well-known for introducing bills related to UH — especially this session.

Since the recession, state funding for the university system has increased every year, though the state did not account for inflation, Choy said. However, competing needs of various state departments prevents the state from giving UH more money.

“We’re not reluctant to give the UH more money; we just don’t got [money] to give,” he said in a phone interview.

Another reason is the university has another source of money – tuition, which UH raised in 2011 and is asking to increase again.

“…We used to be the bargain of the Pacific until we raised tuition seven percent, seven percent, seven percent. So now we’re above the median now,” he said. “…Hopefully they stop picking on the students. So now they have to better manage the funds that they have.”

Although the nine-member ASFSEC has not officially talked about budget model construction, Ross said students should benefit from the money they spend.

“What we would like is to see that if students are brought in and money is brought in to go with that, that money be used to guarantee that those students get seats in classrooms, that their classrooms are staffed by not by people dragged in off the street but by filling faculty as much as possible, that the students in the classrooms not just be ridiculously large, that the students get a quality education for their money,” Ross said.

FY 14 unit allocations
Instructional unit allocations – not including revenues and transfers – are made from general funds, the tuition and special fees fund and RTRF monies. Professional units are not included here. Figures come from the campus management summary reports for FY 2013-14. Numbers for FY 2015 were not yet available. (Noelle Fujii/ Ka Leo)

The chancellor’s budget model

The chancellor’s budget model focuses on the idea of instructional return.

“The philosophy is that in the increased revenue from tuition increases ought to go to the units who are teaching … students who are paying the tuition,” Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said.

Distribution of tuition – which is one part of a unit’s allocation – would include:

– Undergraduate return: 40 percent of tuition revenues – after 20 percent is taken out to fund campus scholarships – would be allocated to units based on a mix of student semester hours (SSH), graduates and majors

– Graduate return: 70 percent of regular graduate tuition and 100 percent of differential tuition will return to the units

For FY 2016-17, the campus will pilot this system with any additional tuition collected, which the chancellor estimates to be around $2.5 million. Only the law, business and medical schools will pilot the graduate return method. These schools will also pilot a system where they have to fund their portion of scholarships externally, rather than contribute to the common scholarship pool.

The idea is to incentivize the units to major in their departments and graduate, according to Bley-Vroman, who says the opposite is currently in place with the historical model.

For the upcoming year, Bley-Vroman said the revenue-based components of budgets will increase, especially for those who do a lot of teaching, like Arts and Sciences, though the plan is to roll this model out over several years.

“It’s easy to change to new allocation systems if you’re just a wash-in money…,” Bley-Vroman said. “Everybody has seen cuts to the amount of money they have and some people are getting very close to not being able to fulfill what they need to do.”

The faculty senate’s model

A day after the chancellor released his model, the Mānoa Faculty Senate once again passed a resolution that recommended a phased-in adoption of a budget model that would distribute campus revenues to the units first before each pays off their proportion of costs relating to campus functions.

According to the senate’s Committee on Administration and Budget’s (CAB) presentation at the senate’s meeting, under this Responsibility-Centered Management (RCM) model, the campus’ income – 100 percent of general funds, tuition, which includes Outreach College fees, and RTRF monies – would first go to the schools, colleges and organized research units – also called responsibility centers.

Funds would be distributed as follows:

– Undergraduate tuition: based on SSH, majors and graduates

– Graduate tuition: based on major count

– Differential tuition: returns to the units that generate them

– General fund monies: based on permanent personnel expenditures

– RTRF monies: returns to the units that generate them

The hope is that by returning all income to the units first, they will be incentivized to do more research, increase graduation rates and hire more permanent faculty.

The responsibility center would then pay amounts proportionate to their uses for direct costs— like utilities, personnel and supplies. They would also pay amounts proportional to their revenues to support cost centers – like libraries, facilities and administration – and taxes for strategic investments, buffering fast enrollment changes and the system.

Under this model, each center would have advisory committees and budget information for the responsibility centers would be publically available.

“If it is not implemented, we are concerned that institutional financial troubles faced in recent years by UHM will continue,” the 10-member CAB said in an email.

Moving ahead

Both CAB and the chancellor will seek feedback and input from various stakeholders.

In the meantime, one department is seeing the effects of not having a change of faculty when people retire because there’s not enough money. Noel Kent, an ethnic studies professor, said he’s still teaching at 72 years old because once he leaves, his classes and work for students disappears.

“At this point as long as my health [is good], I’m willing to stay there and try to do my best,” he said. “If we had some younger person who was coming along and do things that I couldn’t possibly do, hey I’m out of here. So it really encourages people to stay, maybe, beyond their time.”

Mānoa fund sources

  • General– state-allocated funds
  • Tuition– supports general university operations
  • Research and Training Revolving Fund (RTRF)– supports university research activities
  • Other special– funds for a specific statutory purpose
  • Other revolving– funds that provide goods and services and are replenished by transfers from other funds or fees
  • Federal– contracts and grants, federal appropriated funds
  • Trust/private– non-federal contracts and grants, private awarded funds, gifts
  • Bond fund– funds associated with capital/bond projects
  • UH Foundation


‘Fix UH grad labor,’ GSO says

Jan. 19 GSO collective bargaining copy
Published on Jan. 19, 2016.

Graduate assistants are again asking the legislature to allow them to collectively bargain their wages and working conditions.

“Despite our efforts to negotiate in good faith, executive management has refused to pay us even half the cost of living and has shown no indication of willingness to do so in the future. The status quo just isn’t working. It’s time we had a seat at the negotiating table,” Benton Rodden, chairman of the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) employment and compensation committee, said in an email.

Rep. Isaac Choy hopes to change state law that prohibits student help from collectively bargaining by introducing HB 1529.

“Everybody, as far as I’m concerned, everybody has a right to collectively bargain,” he said in a phone interview.

There are approximately 1,300 graduate assistants on campus.

Students first, employees second

Choy’s bill from last year, HB 553, had received support from various groups, such as the University of Hawai‘i Professional Assembly (UHPA), and Executive Director Kristeen Hanselman said it’s not a new issue.

Gov. David Ige vetoed the bill last July, saying graduate assistants are students first and employees second. Benton said that’s a disingenuous statement.

“To deny that we’re employees is really just a way to get around having to treat us with the basic ethical standards that employers must treat employees,” he said.

Ige was also concerned about the bill not providing a bargaining unit the graduate assistants would create or be assigned to.

However, Choy said the law does not require this.

In addition, Ige and the university said collective bargaining would mean an increase in cost to UH and the state.

“Increased costs to the university would depend on the outcome of negotiations as it relates to wages, hours, the amounts of contributions to the Hawai‘i employer-union health benefits trust fund to the extent allowed and other terms and conditions of employment which are subject to collective bargaining,” said James Nishimoto, state Department of Human Resources director, in an email.

According to Dan Meisenzahl, UH spokesman, the university has not done an analysis of what this cost might look like.

“I guess there may be an increase in cost, but there’s also increase in opportunity,” Choy said. “So I don’t see organizing or unionizing a workforce as detriment to any business.”

Covering costs

According to the Office of Graduate Education, assistants work between 10 and 20 hours a week. Though they do not get sick leave, they do have time off, and the duration depends on how long their appointment is.

Tuition waivers are part of graduate assistants’ remuneration, with stipends that adhere to a compensation schedule with 20 step increases.

Dean of Graduate Education Krystyna Aune said former Chancellor Tom Apple instituted the minimum step 6 increase in fall 2013 – $17,502 for a nine-month appointment and $20,472 for a 11-month appointment.

Graduate assistants are also eligible for health plan benefits.

Benton said this is not enough. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2015 Out of Reach report, the annual income needed to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Hawai‘i is $50,289.

“Although graduate assistants are theoretically able to move up the pay scale/steps, the university does not provide any guidance on how to move from one step to another, and it is highly uncommon for GAs to move up the steps,” he said. “I personally have never heard of anyone reaching the $24,912- $30,312 salary range.”

In addition, workplace grievances are another key reason for seeking collective bargaining rights.

“The cost of living has increased by 74 percent since our last wage increase in 2004,” he said. “During that time, the university has found ways to increase spending on athletics, Cancer Center, and pay raises for executive management, etc., not to mention paying out for golden parachutes and the ‘Wonder Blunder.’”

Another option

According to UHPA, the university and Board of Regents could alternatively put together policies regarding graduate assistant employment to serve as a contract.

“Now there’s not the protection of [Hawai‘i Revised Statutes] Chapter 89 under those circumstances, but then there are some clear standards around pay, around access to health benefits, and about access to working conditions and some of the issues that probably concern graduate students like credits for authorship,” Hanselman said in a phone interview.

According to Meisenzahl, UH system leadership has met with GSO members and individually with graduate assistants to address their concerns – such as the ability to call in sick, maternity leave and early notification of class scheduling – and feels it has made progress on most of the issues.

“A draft of the revised policy that addresses length of appointments, considerations for step increases, notification dates for renewal and accomodations and work schedule for sick and emergency situations will be sent to stakeholders, if it hasn’t already,” Meisenzahl said.

However, UH still opposes establishing a collective bargaining unit.

“Graduate students are first and foremost students and employed as an extension of their student experience at the university. The very nature of being a graduate student is not a long-term arrangement,” he said.

Of UH Mānoa’s nine peer institutions, only three allow graduate assistants to collectively bargain.

While the Mānoa Faculty Senate has not taken an official stance on the topic, executive committee member Sarita Rai, who also serves as UHPA secretary and campus Student Study Abroad Program director, is in favor of unionization.

“I support the graduate students unionizing so that they can have equitable, fair treatment and protection from abuse vis a vis their work/learning environment,” she said in an email interview. “This is not just simply about getting pay raises.”

Lessons learned from Katrina

Published on Nov. 16, 2015. 

If a Category 3 or higher hurricane hits Honolulu, the city is not prepared, at least in terms of buildings.

According to George Atta, director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting, the existing building code only requires resistance to a wind load of a Category 2 hurricane, which would have sustained winds of 96-110 miles per hour. However, different types of buildings can have different requirements.

“To get hit by a Category 3 storm is going to be hard,” Atta said. “And while you can change the building codes, just the scale of all of the buildings in Honolulu, if we changed the building code to require a Category 3 protection — like some of the Gulf coast cities now have protection to Category 3 — it’ll be very, very expensive, first of all.”

A major storm

Atta was part of a Nov. 12 panel on campus that discussed the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and the implications for the state. The panel included University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Meteorology Professor Gary Barnes, Sociology Lecturer Jennifer Darrah, Engineering Professor Ian Robertson and National Disaster Preparedness Training Center Executive Director Karl Kim, who moderated the panel.

As the third deadliest storm in the U.S., Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a Category 3 storm, flooded 80 percent of the city and caused an estimated $150 billion in damages. Approximately 1,400 people were killed.

According to Barnes, the storm was very well-forecasted, but the human response to it was a big issue.

“The social portion of dealing with disasters or responding correctly to disasters is one of the big issues that I don’t know how to solve,” Robertson said at the panel.

Preventative measures

As a structural engineer, he learned three main lessons from the disaster:

•Blind reliance on engineered structures is not always prudent. • Surge and wave action is more damaging than wind.

•Good engineering and advanced

preparation are essential to improving resilience for these mega events.

On O‘ahu, 76 bridges are located in coastal areas, with 27 being labeled in a state Department of Transportation study as “critical.” One of the bridges in trouble is Kahalu‘u Stream Bridge on the east side, which lies only three- to five- feet above sea level. While Kāne‘ohe Bay is secluded because of its reef, this makes no difference to the storm surge, Robertson said.

However, many of the bridges around the island have been rebuilt, such as the one for Punalu‘u Stream.

For buildings, wind is going to cause damage, though Robertson said it can be solved.

“Hurricane clips strap down the side of the house and make a huge difference,” he said. “The houses that get damaged are the old single wall construction with no connection between the roof and the walls and the walls and the foundation. We solved that problem because the codes do require it.”

According to Atta, this requirement is for new residential buildings. His department hopes to bring an updated version of the building code up for adoption next year.

Lessons learned

What can really be learned from Katrina is that evacuation is the way to save lives.

“Somehow we have to convince people that they need to get away from the shoreline, and if they’re in substandard homes, they should go to refuge,” Robertson said. “If you’re in a decent 1980 plus home, it may be better to stay at home because there’s not enough storm shelters for everybody.”

There are enough shelters for about one-third of O‘ahu’s population, but according to Atta, only half of them are adequate.

However, he said the city’s emergency response system is better than most states and some communities have even prepared localized responses.

Best Home Decor Stores

With the start of the new school year, it’s time for a fresh living space. Whether you’re moving into a new dorm or just want to revamp your apartment, you’ll want to make trips to pick up those new furnishings and decorations.


Known for its “expect more, pay less,” phrase, Target is the place to go when decorating on a budget. Find inexpensive nightstands, pillows and chairs, all in a variety of colors and styles, at three locations on O‘ahu: Kapolei, Kailua and Aiea. The stores also hold sales every once in a while, knocking down the prices even further. Target also has sections for groceries and clothes, making it an ideal one-stop shop.


4380 Lawehana St.




Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Sun. 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.


With multiple locations on the island, Walmart is a great place to look for inexpensive furnishings and decorations. Looking for a futon? They can be found at the store starting at $200. You’ll also find cheap tables, stools and curtains that are still high quality. Walmart stores also have sections for clothes, food and healthcare.

Location: 700 Keeaumoku St.

Phone: 955-8441

Hours: Open 24 hours

Bed Bath & Beyond

Filled with items like bedding, home decor and furniture, Bed Bath & Beyond is useful when moving into a new dorm. You’ll find dorm necessities like organizers for your closets, shower caddies and blankets, each offered in numerous colors to choose from. While the store’s items can be pricey at times, depending on what you buy, your items will be sturdy and last for a while. The store also has two locations on the island – one in Honolulu and one in Aiea.

Location: 1200 Ala Moana Bvld., Suite 500

Phone: 593-8161

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Simply Organized

This store is all about being organized. From cubbies to store your books to a rack to keep your shoes, Simply Organized has what you need to keep your items and home neat and tidy. The store also has items you need, such as food storage containers, hampers and trash cans.

Location: 4211 Wai‘alae Ave., Suite 1200

Phone: (808) 739-7007

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Best beaches

When you’re living on a tropical island, going to the beach should be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you’re new to Hawai’i. From the crowded shores of Waikīkī to the pounding waves of Sunset Beach on the North Shore, O’ahu has many beaches to offer whether you’re into surfing or relaxing on the sand. Below are some of the best beaches for various activities that you can do at the beach.

Waikīkī Beach: Best beach for relaxing

Always popular with the tourists, Waikīkī Beach is great for swimming, surfing and tanning. The waters are calm and shallow for hundreds of feet out, making it a good place to swim no matter how experienced you are. Many people seem to have the same idea, so watch out when others are swimming or surfing nearby.

Location: Kalakaua Ave.

Amenities: Showers, Bathrooms, Picnic Tables

Kahana Bay Beach: Best beach for relaxing

Nestled outside the Ko’olau mountains, Kahana Bay is one of the prettiest beaches on the island. With views of the blue sea and lush, green mountains in the background and a somewhat secluded location, this beach is perfect for when you want to escape from town and relax. The waters — although murky most of the time — are mainly calm and shallow.  The sand is also fine and soft – perfect for laying a towel down and taking a much-needed nap.

Location: Kamehameha Hwy.

Amenities: Port-a-potty, Picnic Tables, Grills

Kalama Beach: Best beach for tanning

Located in Kailua, a town outside of town, Kalama Beach is where many families go to relax and have fun. With waves that break farther back than the shore, many children can be seen riding them with or without body boards. Although often crowded – but not as crowded as the touristy Waikīkī – Kalama is a great place to catch the rays and get a tan. The sand is soft and plentiful, extending back to houses that surround the large beach.

Location: 248 N. Kalaheo Ave.

Amenities: Showers, Bathrooms

Hanauma Bay: Best beach for snorkeling

Hanauma Bay is the place to go if you want to see fish and lots of them. The bay has a large, shallow reef, making it easy to spot fish swimming by. As one of the most popular snorkeling destinations on the island, it’s also quite crowded. According to its website, the state park sees around 3,000 visitors a day, so you’ll want to go early. The park also charges an entry fee and is open from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day except Tuesday.

Location: 100 Hanauma Bay Rd.

Amenities: Showers, Bathrooms, Picnic Tables

Where is your language?: Second Language Studies class aims to educate campus on its linguistic diversity

In an effort to raise awareness for multilingualism, a small class translated common campus signs and posted its own.

“I took my students on a campus tour, and we looked at all the signs on campus and they were all in English,” Second Language Studies (SLS) instructor Angela Haeusler said. “And we thought, ‘Wow, that’s actually not really [reflective of] this place – Hawai‘i. And yeah, the campus maybe should mirror what is out there in the community.’”

Her SLS 480P, Second Language Pedagogy, class is composed of 11 students and five different languages: Pidgin, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and German. Students identified signs that reflected English as the norm — such as the one on Hamilton Library’s outdoor book return station — translated them into these languages and posted their signs.

According to Haeusler, other languages that are important to the campus and Hawai‘i, such as Hawaiian, Marshallese and Ilocano were not represented in the class so they weren’t able to cover them. So what we did was we added a little add-on that said, ‘Where’s your language?’ to raise this critical awareness that none of these are actually there even though we have students, staff, faculty that are not only just from culturally diverse but also from a linguistically diverse background,” she said.

Raising awareness

SLS 480P focuses on globalization in language teaching.

“We try to raise critical awareness about the students – how to be a good English teacher, be ethically responsible in addressing topics and some things that are a little controversial or inconvenient. And I think that comes just with this issue of globalization, as the world becomes more diverse, and sometimes it’s difficult to really address that in a big way.”

The class made about eight signs, all with translations in the languages the students in the class spoke. Locations included Hamilton Library, Paradise Palms, Sinclair Library, Queen Lili‘uokalani Center, the Art Building and Mānoa Gardens, Haeusler said.

The signs were posted July 27, and although some are no longer there, the one on Hamilton Library’s book return station remains.

According to Ann Crawford, associate university librarian for planning, administration and personnel, the library has no plans to take down the class’s sign.

As a library, and because the campus is a research institution, a lot of time is spent dealing with materials that are not in English, she said.

“When we’re going to collect an item, we’re buying whatever language that happens to be written in,” Crawford said. “Our Hawaiian Pacific collection, again, is we’re buying and having it and making use, and helping people make use of it in whatever language it’s written in.”

The library has staff members that are competent in 22 different languages.

“So we have specialists in the library in other languages, whose job is to make sure that although our catalog is in English we’ve done a good job representing what that material is,” she said. “I think we’re working to move forward the conversation of scholarship and research in whatever language it needs to happen in and should be happening in.”

Utilizing a class’ languages

Haeusler hopes her students see it’s possible to take action on something if they go out and do it.

“Also that we together, as a group, can maybe raise awareness for something like this, for multilingualism, which is important for language teachers, right? I think also, making people from diverse language backgrounds feel valued in all those different resources that they bring to campus, not just a limited set, but actually language resources,” she said.

Senior Reynold Kajiwara thought the project was interesting because it utilized every language the class had to translate signs that foreigners can’t understand.

“It’s pretty interesting because English is … the most dominant language in UH Mānoa, or UH in general, and then a lot of other languages aren’t represented in UH as much,” Kajiwara said in a phone interview.

Senior Kalene Peterson said while the students were posting the signs, others noticed the different languages.

“I think, by posting these, people are aware that there’s different languages in Hawai‘i – how multicultural Hawai‘i is,” she said in a phone interview.