UH regents to discuss Maunakea group

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents are expected to hear a motion this morning to consider the formation of a group that would advise the board on issues related to the university’s governance of Maunakea.

The Maunakea Governance Task Group, if approved, would investigate issues and make recommendations regarding UH’s stewardship of the mountain.

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UH spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl said the group would serve as a “permitted interaction group” that would investigate issues on behalf of the board, which is required to form, receive reports from, and make decisions based on the recommendations of the group at separate public meetings with the opportunity for public review, as required by state “sunshine” laws.

Meisenzahl said the motion to form the group was influenced by the ongoing controversy surrounding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea summit, although he added that the group is no different from any other permitted interaction group.

The group is partly for the benefit of new members of the Board of Regents to become more informed about the issue and public perspectives about it, Meisenzahl said.

While the Maunakea task group is only one of multiple items on today’s agenda, it is expected to draw testimony from TMT opponents throughout the state.

Social media posts circulated throughout this week urging TMT opponents to attend the meeting in person or submit written testimony expressing their opposition to the project.

“Members of the (Board of Regents) are public servants!” read one such post. “They do not work for the TMT. They are accountable to us the students, faculty, staff and citizens of Hawaii. They should stand with the people and STOP TMT!”

The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the UH Manoa Information Technology building in Honolulu.

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The deadline for written testimony closed at 9 a.m. Thursday, but late testimony can still be sent to bor.testimony@hawaii.edu.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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