Regents Chair Wants UH To Take Lead In Solving Mauna Kea Conflict

Sep 2, 2019

The chairman of the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents says he'll call for the university president to lead the effort to resolve the conflict on Mauna Kea and planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

In a statement Monday described as his own and not the regents', Chair Benjamin Kudo said he plans to place action items on the board agenda "directing the president of the university to make the pursuit of a resolution of this conflict his top priority, and for the university to lead this effort."

"I urge forces on all sides of this issue not to escalate matters, but to work in a spirit of ALOHA to find solutions that move Hawaiʻi forward," the statement reads.

UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said there was no immediate response planned from university president David Lassner but there may be more details Tuesday.

It is not immediately clear what impact, if any, Kudo's planned actions will have on the process to resolve the conflict already set in motion by Gov. David Ige.

Ige handed the task to Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, who has held two meetings with selected Native Hawaiians, meetings that have drawn the ire of protest leaders. They say they have not been invited to the gatherings.

The protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope entered its seventh week this week.

Those opposed to the telescope say Mauna Kea is sacred land and needs protection. Backers of the project have a state permit reviewed by the Hawaii Supreme Court that allows the telescope to move forward.

Kudo Statement