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Friday, October 22, 2010
Ethics Violation? UH Manoa helps Democrats build get out the vote rally
By Andrew Walden @ 12:05 AM :: 8540 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

by Andrew Walden

Groups and individuals backing Democrat Rep Neil Abercrombie for Governor and Democrat State Senator Colleen Hanabusa for Congress are holding a “Use Your Voice, Use Your Vote” rally on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus Tuesday.  The event is being promoted with UH resources including an official UH Manoa news release

Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 84 clearly prohibits “using state time, equipment, supplies, or state premises for campaign activities or campaign purposes.”  Use of state computers and email accounts is specifically prohibited.

The rally is tagged as “non partisan” but its sponsors are anything but.   They include the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which Abercrombie helped organize, and has formally endorsed both Abercrombie and Hanabusa

Another key sponsor, KANU Hawaii, is funded by EBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar.  Kanu formally proclaims its nonpartisanship.  But the Star-Advertiser September 19 pointed out:

“Abercrombie (to form the core of his campaign team) recruited a cadre of young, socially conscious Democrats from such organizations as Kanu Hawaii.”

Emceeing the event will be Hawaiian Studies Professor Jon Osorio.  Osorio has appeared at election-season “We value Hawaii” events with Abercrombie and Kanu Hawaii activists promoting Osorio’s recently released book, “The Value of Hawaii”.  

The official UH Manoa news release urges interested parties to contact Ethnic Studies Professor Nandita Sharma.  On her website, Sharma describes herself as “an activist scholar whose research is shaped by the social movements she is active in, including No Borders movements and those struggling for the commons.”

The other contact person for the rally is Osorio‘s “Value of Hawaii” co-editor, Craig Howes.   The UH Manoa news release urges interested persons to contact Sharma and Howes at their respective hawaii.edu email addresses.

Violators of HRS 84 may be administratively fined up to $500 per violation.  Additional penalties may include, “disciplinary action such as reprimand, probation, demotion, suspension, or discharge.”

One possible explanation for why leftist UH professors might believe voter turnout from UH Manoa would boost their favored candidates comes from the book “Segregated Sisterhood” by Rep. Abercrombie's wife, UH Manoa professor Nancie Caraway.  Caraway approvingly describes the political environment at UH Manoa:

In my own feminist classroom, discussions with students about the political implications of oppositional standards of beauty often become contentious, revealing intense commitments to often contradictory notions of race and gender representations of self.  When an outspoken beautiful Black woman with “white” features and straightened hair asserts that it is her “right” to choose to wear blue contact lenses and “preppy” rather than “ethnic” clothing, she is met with admonitions from radical white female students. It is they who expect her to be the badge of “her people”; they urge her not to deny or invalidate her “Blackness", her special beauty.

The white radical students seem to love the “frisson” that “Blackness” gives, while the Black student resists, as she said, being trapped into any “racial mold.” We debate about the potential for appropriation in our Hawaiian community when haole (white) women wear Zulu African bracelets or Hawaiian style dress or jewelry, or dance the hula, insisting that such sartorial symbolism can be fraudulent.  Casual appropriation of the cultural symbols of people of color can represent a co-optation of those people who are in struggle against racist colonial heritages if it is not conjoined with activism on behalf of such peoples. (P. 111)

The rally will be held on campus at Varney Circle from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm October 26.  Voter registration for the November election ended October 4.

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