Portfolio

A collection of some of my favorite articles that I’ve written as a student journalist.

How these Hawai‘i youth work to prevent suicide

A majority of teens in the U.S. tell someone they are thinking about committing suicide – and University of Hawai‘i researchers are working to help others recognize the warning signs earlier.

“If 85 percent are telling someone, 85 percent are reaching out and we can actually do something to help them, so we have to be able to recognize what is occurring,” Psychiatry Professor Deborah Goebert said in a phone interview.

From 2011 to 2014, she and a team of UH researchers and education organizations worked to create a model for youth groups to become gatekeepers — a safety net of people that can recognize the warning signs and provide connections to resources — as part of the Hawai‘is Caring Communities Initiative (HCCI) for Youth Suicide Prevention. Although the HCCI grant has ended, a council of teens and young adults continues to bring youth together to carry on the work this model started.

“If we’re going to target youth and we want to make a difference in the youth’s lives, we have to involve and engage youth because they’re important resources for their own friends and their peers,” said Jane Chung-Do, a public health assistant professor and HCCI staff member, in a phone interview.

Hawaii high school suicide rate .jpg
Nearly 11 percent of high school students reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months, according to the 2013 Hawai’i School Health Survey results. (Noelle Fujii/ Ka Leo)

Youth as gatekeepers

According to Goebert, everyone is a potential gatekeeper, though youth — defined as ages 14 to 24 — are important because they have eyes and ears on each other, especially on social media.

The Youth Leadership Council on Suicide Prevention’s purpose was to help sustain suicide prevention efforts statewide and to bring together partners on different islands to have a group to represent the youth voice, said Mara Pike, Mental Health America of Hawai‘i’s Pono Youth Program manager.

In addition, the council seeks to provide youth with leadership and development training on suicide prevention, civic engagement and community service opportunities and connect adults to support students as leaders in their home communities.

The group first met at a two-day suicide prevention conference on Big Island in 2015. Malia Bush, a freshman at Leeward Community College, said the fact that students were given leadership roles, rather than adults, stood out to her.

“[The adult leaders] let us youth council members brainstorm ideas — on how to raise awareness and provide resources within our communities — and gave us whatever support we needed, such as materials, training, and guidance when needed,” Bush said in an email. “They definitely empowered us.”

Kamehameha Schools senior Hi‘ilani Pacheco joined the council in October because she has a passion to increase awareness about the topic. She has since participated in sign waving and training activities and hopes to continue being involved when she attends college at one of the UH campuses in the fall.

Some members of the council also serve on the Prevent Suicide Hawaiʻi Task Force.

Training leaders

The council is a collaboration between Mental Health America of Hawaiʻi and HCCI, in addition to other local organizations. Since its establishment in April 2015, the group has grown from 78 youth and supportive adult members to 94, Pike said.

“You got to start the conversation and you have to be willing to open up and you have to be willing to talk about what’s going on and be vulnerable,” Pike said in a phone interview. “The adults are here to listen and … the youth, it’s really up to them to be able to help us understand what would be helpful for them in their communities.”

However, she said the challenge is that youth grow up and carry on with their lives. The council has ongoing enrollment and members contribute on a voluntary basis.

Future plans include a statewide self-care fair with stations on each of the islands in April and to bring suicide prevention training to middle schools.

“When we get a chance to bring them all together, you know, across the state and bring all these youth from different communities together, they really feel a sense of team or a sense of community,” Chung-Do said. “So they feel more empowered to do something about youth suicide prevention so they don’t feel so alone in their own little community.”

A model of youth leadership

The youth leadership model focuses on youth empowerment, suicide prevention trainings, community awareness events and team-building, Chung-Do said.

The model was implemented when HCCI’s Mobilizing Communities at Risk (MCAR) project partnered with six community organizations across the state to develop and implement community awareness activities in suicide prevention. The organizations were located in rural communities with a high proportion of youth and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. They were also already engaged in suicide prevention activities, though most were primarily focused on adults.

At each organization, youth leaders were identified, trained through a gatekeeper training program and engaged in community activities to increase awareness and teambuilding.

“We felt youth were key gatekeepers that hadn’t been tapped into in our state previously,” Goebert said. “So we wanted to not only train youth to become gatekeepers but also to do sort of a broader community awareness about suicide and the importance of suicide prevention.

The Prevent Suicide Hawai‘i Task Force will hold a gatekeeper training on April 18 on campus. For more information, go to:eventbrite.com/e/connect-suicide-prevention-training-41816-for-uhm-registration-22979105122.

http://www.kaleo.org/news/how-these-hawai-i-youth-work-to-prevent-suicide/article_e23c18ec-f527-11e5-b735-6754f5a6ff03.html

 

 

Community group to hold campus memorial Feb. 23

Campus community members who are still grieving the recent deaths of students, faculty and staff will have the chance to celebrate and remember them through the Compassion Hui’s Celebration of Life event next Tuesday.

“The need is that because there is little to no communication about the deaths of students, faculty and staff on this campus … we have found …. there are a lot of people who are still grieving losses that they haven’t been able to grieve for already,” said Susan Schultz, founder of the Compassion Hui and a UH Mānoa English professor. “We thought that this event would simply create a place and a time for people who are still grieving could come, say a few words, talk to other people in the same situation, and maybe it would help kind of lift morale a little bit.”

The event is the first of its kind on campus, Schultz said. According to Jade Sunouchi, a member of the Compassion Hui and lecturer at UH West Oʻahu, the group hopes the event will become an annual occurrence, whether it’s put on by them or university administration.

“We completely support it just like any other event on campus that’s organized by the members of our community,” UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said in a phone interview.

Responding to student deaths

UH Mānoa’s 2006 Procedure in Regard to Deceased Students authorizes a pair of administrators to notify the family of the deceased student and the appropriate student affairs offices. While the document also says the campus counseling center should be notified so that steps are taken in regards to counseling of other students who may be affected, the protocol does not address how UH Mānoa will inform the community.

While Schultz said she has found opposition to reporting every death on campus, she believes there should have procedures in place, including an annual memorial service where community members would know who had died.

“More awareness of the availability of resources and especially if it’s a very public death,” she said. “You know, then I think the chancellor needs to kick in and send a message to the entire community to say, ‘There’s been a tragedy on our campus. We’re very saddened by this and here are some resources to access.’ My preference would be if he would do that every time.”

Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi (ASUH) Sen. Todd Simeroth found out that a man died while trying to prevent another man’s suicide at Hale Wainani in August through social media, not campus administration. In September, he and fellow senators drafted a resolutioncalling for the campus to adopt a protocol for consistently addressing and responding to student deaths in a caring and professional manner. His concern was that administration should inform students about available resources, such as counseling and therapy.

“We wanted it to be up to the families. If they didn’t want any personal information distributed, it could be something as simple as saying, ‘There was a student death on campus. If you witnessed it or are affected by it, go seek the counseling center.’ That sort of thing,” he said.

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) passed a similar resolutionalmost unanimously in September.

“We wanted to say that there is a need for this type of communication and we want it done and we want it done properly,” GSO President Jonathan Dial said.

A sensitive topic

According to Meisenzahl, campus policies and procedures are always in review and received feedback is taken into consideration.

When handling student deaths, the family is the campus’ first consideration.

In Interim Vice Chancellor for Students Lori Ideta’s response to ASUH’s resolution, she said the campus does communicate the death of a student and offers support services to those the student came in regular contact with. Meisenzahl added follow ups are also done in case there are delayed responses.

“It’s something the university takes very, very seriously, but it’s not something that we do in a public spotlight,” he said.

Ideta’s concern with an instant notification — which would state, at most, that a death occurred and refer community members to counseling and support services — would create anxiety and raise more questions than answers.

“The fact of the matter is if we sent out an email blast every time someone passed away, there would be a lot of emails or there might be waves of emails because sometimes these things happen in clusters and what would be the benefit of that?” Meisenzahl said. “If there is one student who might know 100 people in a community of 25,000 people, and if we’re doing what we do to reach out to the vast majority of people who know that student, you know, their teachers, their professors, their classes, what benefit is it? So I guess it’s debatable, what [ASUH and GSO are] proposing. The benefit of it is debatable.”

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Students has sent out email announcements informing students of available support services, and Meisenzahl said students are alerted through new student orientation and student housing.

Another campus’ example

UH Hilo’s Student Death Protocol authorizes the dean of students to act as the coordinator for all campus responses, including contacting the family and determining whether an all-campus announcement needs to be made.

Kelly Oaks, UH Hilo interim associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, said such a decision is made on a case by case determination. The circumstances of the death and the feelings and concerns of the family are taken into consideration.

The policy, which has been utilized for at least the five years Oaks has been in her position, stemmed from a need for a coordinated response.

“We wanted to have one point of contact for the university, and while individuals may have been making these contacts in different areas and departments, were doing so out of concern and the best intentions, the impact to families who were dealing with a tragedy, it can be significant,” she said in a phone interview.

Under the protocol, the dean of students is responsible for notifying the appropriate university and off-campus personnel and providing consultation and assistance to campus departments who wish to organize a memorial event on campus.

Both Simeroth and Schultz believe the protocol is more detailed and compassionate.

According to UHWO Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Judy K. Oliveira, her campus is also working on a protocol that would include internal processes for reaching out to campus administrators, offices and individuals. Like with the other campuses, campus-wide communication will be made on a case-by-case basis, following consultation with senior administration.

“We try to handle each situation with compassion and dignity – allowing the family members and close friends to inform us of how best to memorialize and/or ‘celebrate the life’ of their loved one,” she said in an email.

At UH Mānoa, Dial thinks groups like the Compassion Hui are setting an example.

“I think this is exactly what needs to happen in these kinds of situations,” he said. “This is the community itself bringing this topic up and it’s showing compassion, it’s showing that the community itself cares about the members of the community, it cares about the students, it cares about the faculty and that everyone is valued. And I think that group is doing a very good job by leading by example where I think the administration is actually failing.”

Event details

When: Feb. 23, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Hālau ʻO Haumea, 2645 Dole Street

Attendees are welcome to bring a candle, lighter and container. Open flames are not permitted on campus. Candles will also be provided by event organizers.

The Compassion Hui

Susan Schultz founded the group in September 2014 to advocate for suicide prevention, compassionate communication of student deaths and an increased awareness of campus resources. After the death at Hale Wainani in August 2015, the group grew and now has over 50 student, faculty and staff members.

Facebook: uhmentalhealthhui

http://www.kaleo.org/news/community-group-to-hold-campus-memorial-feb/article_fcc03a4a-d772-11e5-9a97-f7fc6c06036e.html

‘Fix UH grad labor,’ GSO says

Jan. 19 GSO collective bargaining copy

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.”

http://www.kaleo.org/news/fix-uh-grad-labor-gso-says/article_3dae26ae-bd9a-11e5-8f3a-eb4a16d29b28.html

 

 

Students raise their voices for free speech
Art can be free speech, according to Roger Fonseca from the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Free speech is anything that tries to get a message across,” Fonseca said. “Yes there’s free speech, but you can limit it reasonably.”

On Tuesday morning, about 80 people gathered in front of HauMĀNA’s mural by the Art Building to protest for their right for free speech and against the development of telescopes on Mauna Kea. Words that were painted on the mural were covered because they did not match the design that was approved to be painted.

“We’re on a university,” Hawaiian cultural practitioner Andre Perez said. “We’re talking about free speech to express our politics and our cultural values. And that includes protecting our sacred mountain.”

HauMĀNA is a student movement for “aloha no ka ‘āina,” or “love for the land.”

FREE SPEECH

“The First Amendment protects speech that is controversial, speech that is unpopular, speech that is provocative, speech that is critical,” said political science professor Katharina Heyer.

According to Heyer, students at the university have fairly broad freedom of expression rights.

“On the other hand, the university also has the right to maintain the proper functioning and order of the university,” Heyer said. “So they have the right to place limitations on the freedom of expression.”

Heyer said the limitations the university places on free speech have to be reasonable and content-neutral. Reasonable includes making sure the acts of free speech are not disrupting the functions of the university. Content-neutral means the university should not be interested in the content of the speaker or the speaker’s message.

According to Heyer, the university designates free speech venues on campus.

“But once the university designates spaces, then they are bound,” Heyer said. “Their restrictions have to be content-neutral. They have to be necessary for fulfilling the university’s mission.”

According to Matthew Nagata, president of Campus Center Board, students have the right to assemble.

“Students have the right to assemble, but if the rally or event were to be held in a ‘reservable’ space in the Campus Center complex, we would ask that the organizing party contact Campus Center Meeting and Events Services to reserve the space,” Nagata said. “If a group were to occupy a reserved space without a reservation, the group could be asked to leave.”

According to Nagata, campus administration has the right to disperse any event that causes a disruption to normal operations or poses a threat.

“As with any gathering, per UH system’s policies, campus administration has the right to disperse an event that causes a disruption to normal operations or poses a threat to health or safety,” Nagata said.

THE MURAL WITH A MESSAGE

According to Nagata, the construction company owns the construction barriers that were painted for the Ka Leo Arts Festival and has delegated the responsibility of managing and governing postings on the exterior of the boards to the campus, which delegated the responsibility to the CCB.

On Saturday afternoon, Ka Leo requested that the painters of the mural cover the painted words, “UH cannot be a Hawaiian place of learning while leading the desecration of Mauna a Wākea. Hey UH, be accountable… Be a Hawaiian place of learning… Stand with the people… Stop the desecration. Stop the thirty meter telescope!” The painters refused and were told the words would be covered if they didn’t cover them.

For the construction barriers to be used for the festival, Ka Leo had to ask for approval by the CCB.

“As part of the standard CCB proposal process, Ka Leo included eight sketches of the proposed murals as well as some logistical details to CCB,” Nagata said. “The CCB evaluated the proposal, including the provided sketches.”

The Facilities Management committee recommended the proposal to the General Board, which approved the eight sketches as submitted for exhibition on the barricade walls.

“There was concern about vandalism and maintenance, so we were given some guidelines that we had to follow,” Board of Publications chairwoman Rebekah Carroll said. “And one guideline did state that what was painted had to match the approved design.”

The words on the mural were painted over with the Ka Leo Arts Festival information, which was a stipulation of all of the murals.

“The CCB just asked that murals be painted and maintained in a matter consistent with the approved sketches,” Nagata said.

MAUNA A WĀKEA

According to the UH Institute for Astronomy website, Mauna Kea hosts the world’s largest astronomical observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from 11 countries. There are currently 13 working telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea.

“Because of the high altitude (14,000 feet) and the clear, stable atmosphere above the mountain, Mauna Kea is the best site in thw Northern Hemisphere, and among the two or three very best sites in the entire world for astronomy,” said Günther Hasinger, astronomer and director of UH’s Institute for Astronomy. “Construction of the 30-meter telescope is expected to begin next year.”

The university has a lease from the state for all the land within a 2.5 mile radius of the site of the UH 2.2 meter telescope, which is essentially all the land above 3,700 meters elevation except for the portions that lie within the Mauna Kea Ice Natural Area Reserve. The leased land is known as the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.

In June 2000, the Board of Regents formulated the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan, which establishes management guidelines for the next 20 years.

Management of the summit area is now the responsibility of the Office of Mauna Kea Management in Hilo.

PROTEST ATTRACTS ALL

Law student Kevin Argote attended the rally with his constitutional law class.

“This is a constitutional law issue, and so our professor allowed us class time to come out here,” Argote said. “We came as a group to come watch the First Amendment in action.”

He believes it’s good to keep dialogue on issues like this open.

“There are a lot of legal issues that a lot of us can see here, but I think overall it’s to see that people are active and passionate about these issues,” Argote said.“It’s very heartening to see that everyone wants to get their voice out and heard.”

Student Ka‘ili Rattley said she attended the rally to support the claims the artist of the mural made.

“I support the claims that the artist is making that it’s not ok that the school, UH Mānoa, who claims to be a Hawaiian school and a place for Hawaiian learning, that they desecrate and they silence Hawaiian students and people of Hawai‘i’s voice in the issues that they’re participating in,” Rattley said.

Sports Editor Joey Ramirez and Editor-in-Chief Bianca Bystrom Pino contributed to this story.

The right for free speech on campus

According to UH Mānoa’s Practices and Procedures Governing Time, Place and Manner of Public Speech Activities, the Campus Center Forum can be used for public speech activities on a first-come-first-serve basis, with the proper clearance from the Campus Center Scheduling Officer. These activities can be conducted as long as the activities are conducted in an orderly manner and do not interfere with classroom construction, office or student privacy, study conditions, meetings and ceremonies, pedestrian or vehicular traffic or other functions of the campus.

Sound amplification equipment can be used in the designated public forum area as long as it does not interfere with the campus’ educational functions and affairs.

Board of Publications chairwoman Rebekah Carroll said the Ka Leo student newspaper is available for free speech.

http://www.kaleo.org/news/students-raise-their-voices-for-free-speech/article_209a9542-37a6-11e3-9864-001a4bcf6878.html

 

University may feel effects of government shutdown 

The government shutdown on Oct. 1 will affect students the same way it affects all the people of the state, at least in the short term, according to Vice Chancellor for Students Francisco Hernandez.

“If the shutdown continues into the months of November and December, students may be affected because of the lack of government services to process some financial aid requests for students entering UH Mānoa in the spring semester,” Hernandez said.

At 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, the federal government partially shut down after Congress failed to enact spending legislation with the start of the government’s new fiscal year, according to an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

University Activities 
 

On Tuesday, the Department of Defense notified officials at the Navy, Army and Air Force academies that all intercollegiate athletics would be suspended until the shutdown ends.

Hawai‘i is scheduled to play at Navy in Annapolis, Md., on Nov. 9 and host Army on Nov. 30.

The FBI has had to cancel its booth that was supposed to be at Campus Center on Thursday due to the government shutdown.

“The Mānoa Career Center partners with various federal agencies to share about career and internship opportunities through on campus outreach, information sessions, and job/ internship posting,” said Wendy Sora, interim director for the Mānoa Career Center. “We are now seeing some federal employers who are unable to be on campus and are not as active with their current job and internship offerings”

According to Sora, the center participates in the federal E-verfiy program, which is an internet-based system that is used for determining employment eligibility.

“That system is not operational and representatives are not available,” Sora said.  “However, students are still able to get hired through the university student employment program with minimal impact. The Mānoa Career Center will need to resolve any disputes after the government is up and running.”

Financial aid and research grants

The shutdown will not disrupt the awarding of student aid or the services of student financial aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s contingency plan.

More than 14 million students receive student aid, in the form of grants and loans, at more than 6,600 schools through Pell Grant and Direct Student Loan programs, which could continue as normal as a result of multi-year appropriations, according to the plan.

According to Jodie Kuba, Director for Financial Aid Services at the UHM, the office is currently doing business as usual and all federal aid funding to students is occurring as normal, until the office hears differently from Federal Student Aid. If anything changes, notifications will be sent out to students who will be affected.

A delay in department obligations and payments beyond one week due to the government shutdown could “severely curtail the cash flow to school districts, colleges and universities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies that depend on the Department’s funds to support their services,” according to the plan.

Associate Dean for Research in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Alexander Shor said as long as the shutdown is fairly short, there shouldn’t be much of an impact.

“The reason is that most of the work we do is federal grants, and once we have the funds, we can use them as we need to,” Shor said. “The government doesn’t have to give us permission once we’ve received them.”

If the shutdown continues for a couple of weeks, it will prevent grants from coming in.

“It has potential to have real damage to us if it lasts for a long time,” Shor said.

Brian Taylor, UH Mānoa Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, said the awarding of new federal research grants and contracts may be delayed, depending on the length of the shutdown.

“However, nearly all support for current students from research awards should be already in hand at UH, and these funds may continue to (be) expended during the shutdown,” Taylor said.

According to Jodie Leong, Director of Communications for the UH system office, the University Office of Research Services sent out a memo saying that, for now, principal investigators are advised that all project activities performed under currently active awards may continue in accordance with their terms to the extent that doing so will not require federal staff interventions and that funds are available. She said this may change in the future, depending on the length of the shutdown.

The UH John A. Burns School of Medicine has had to put the regional meeting it was supposed to hold on Oct. 7 and 8 on hold due to the shutdown.

“The government shutdown may not permit these federal officials to travel and would thus deny the young scientists the opportunity to showcase their research and compete successfully for future research grants,” dean for the Medical School Jerris Hedges said in a statement.

The shut down 

Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi President Richard Mizusawa said his initial reaction is that he is happy the shutdown won’t affect students directly and cause a negative impact on their education.

“Having financial aid continuing to run and research awards still in place gives me confidence that even though we are going through this government shutdown that we as students can continue to do what we do here while staying strong that our federal government will do what they need to do what is best for our country,” Mizusawa said. “As many of us are doing, I wait to see the steps they will take to do what is best for all.”

ASUH does not currently have any legislation going through regarding the shutdown.

John Mizuno, Vice Speaker for the state House of Representatives, said the shutdown will hurt the system if it continues.

“The longer it goes on, the more it’s going to hurt the, not only the students, but the entire UH system,” Mizuno said. “It’s unfortunate.”

Mizuno said there will be an adverse effect seen on the UH system.

“It will affect us, no doubt,” Mizuno said. “The gravity of the effect, how adverse it will be to our university, will yet to be fully known because we don’t know how many jobs and positions are federally funded. And how many programs that are federally funded that are going to be affected by this shutdown.”

According to Mizuno, students can continue to contact their U.S. Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen. He said many of them have Facebook accounts that they can be reached through.

“The point is many students will have the ability to contact their senators and their people in Congress and say, ‘Hey, you know, this is really affecting my education, and I don’t think you want to do this. Can you help?’” Mizuno said.

According to Mizuno, lawmakers are seeking a solution.

“I think we just need to address this as soon as we can.” Mizuno said. “So it will get worse, but again, we’re very hopeful that a resolution will come up soon.”

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