Testimonies filled with silence, song, and even frustration at UH Board of Regents meeting

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HILO (KHON2) — The UH Board of Regents listened to more than five hours of testimony on Wednesday, November 6.

Almost every person has concerns with at least one or more of the 12 points outlined in the resolution.

Many also pleaded with the regents to reject the rules.

The community has been waiting for more than 20 years for the university to properly manage Mauna Kea. Right now, it’s hard to tell whether they will vote in favor of or against moving forward with their proposals.

Reverent moments of silence, moving moments of mele, or song, and moments of anger and frustration were interspersed in the hours of testimony presented before the Board of Regents.

There were some in favor of adopting the proposed administrative rules.

“I support the rules,” said Canada France Telescope Director Doug Simons. “I’ve watched them evolve. UH has been responsible in trying to respond to the criticism of the rules and we ultimately need them to manage the mountain.”

Others expressed concerns about access restrictions.

“The rules continue to make it difficult for cultural practitioners to be on the mountain or to exercise our rights freely,” said Noenoe Silva, a professor and a kiai of Mauna Kea.

Greg Chun, the executive Director of Mauna Kea stewardship says the rules do not require a permit. It just asked groups larger than 10 to register so they know they are there.

“If you want to come up, we’re not going to say you can’t come up to do a cultural practice. We’ve never said that,” said Chun.

He says that simply helps them limit the human impact on the resources they are charged with managing on Mauna kea. If the regents vote to adopt the rules, it fulfills an audit requirement dating back to 1998.

“For the university to put a set of rules that don’t work at all just puts another thick layer of The Onion that will have to be peeled back eventually,” said Silva.

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