Admitting non-Hawaiian strikes at core of pride


The Maui News
Friday, July 19, 2002

Adrian K. Kamali'i

The Kamehameha Schools decision to allow a non-Hawaiian student to benefit from Princess Bernice Pauahi's legacy is a blow to all Hawaiians.

The magnitude of the decision by the board of trustees and the chief executive officer of Kamehameha Schools will lead to the demise of this institution.

This situation strikes at the very reason Kamehameha's alumni take pride in their alma mater: It is a school for children of Hawaiian ancestry.

Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy should not be aimed exclusively at seeking out industrious men and women. Industrious men and women are seldom born. Individuals are shaped and molded to create industrious men or women. Princess Pauahi recognized this fact in her will: "I desire my trustees to provide first and chiefly a good education . . . to make good and industrious men and women."

For some, the decision to admit a non-Hawaiian will perpetuate the stereotype of Hawaiians being ignorant people. The fact that Hawaiians are not able to be admitted into their own school plays to the beat of an all too familiar drum, the same drum used by those who have made Hawaiians feel inferior, primitive and slothful.

The admittance of a non-Hawaiian student could not have been more timely in the downfall of Hawaiian entities and their entitlements.

At a point when Hawaiians have numerous battles to fight, the one institution that most thought was safeguarded stood as a beacon for Hawaiians. We can no longer say that in this millennium Kamehameha Schools will solely serve students of Hawaiian ancestry. This decision now opens opportunities to other non-Hawaiians to seek post-high-school financial aid or preschool education. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The state of Hawaii's public education system is failing Hawaiians by large proportions. The amount of money that Kamehameha Schools will spend on this non-Hawaiian student could have gone to fund vocational programming for Hawaiians, a GED program for Hawaiian dropouts or been reallocated to the Kapalama campus on Oahu where students are turned away on a yearly basis. The list of needs is endless.

If this decision was used as means to remedy Kamehameha Schools' preferential treatment of Hawaiians, it amounts to a disgusting surrender. King Kamehameha never once surrendered in battle, and if he had, Hawaii would have never been unified. How sad that Kamehameha Schools has surrendered in one of its battles.

Ke Ali‘i Pauahi, please forgive us.

Adrian Kamalaniikekai Kamali‘i, Class of 2000 of Kamehameha Schools, is the president and CEO of Hui Ho‘oulu, an organization geared to providing cultural venues for Hawaiian youth in politics, environment and education.

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Ho`iho`i Mai