State briefs for November 12

School mascot dropped after discrimination complaints

HONOLULU — A Hawaii school plans to change its mascot after receiving complaints the name was disrespectful to Native Americans.

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The Kahuku High and Intermediate School on Oahu will no longer be known as the Red Raiders.

Principal Donna Lindsey announced the change in a letter last week, which said the school received complaints that the nickname and use of a so-called tomahawk chop gesture by supporters were “disrespectful and potentially discriminatory toward Native Americans.”

The school’s logo also displays an artistic rendering of a Native American person.

The Kahuku school administration said it will choose a new mascot with help from a neutral third party and stakeholders from the community.

Lindsey did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the decision.

Former Kahuku head football Coach Reggie Torres said he was surprised by the change.

“As a coach for many years, all the kids that came through our program, they wanted to feel that experience of the 12th man on the field, seeing the crazy crowd with the chops and the noise and the cheers and the support,” Torres said.

The change follows the discontinuation of similar names and likenesses by other schools and organizations throughout the country, including professional sports franchises.

The National Football League’s Washington Redskins changed its name to the Washington Football Team, while Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians organization no longer uses the Chief Wahoo mascot.

Computer error forces public housing lottery reboot

HONOLULU — A computer error has required the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to conduct a new lottery to choose successful applicants for housing assistance.

A vendor experienced a software glitch causing the names of some applicants for Section 8 housing vouchers to be entered into the lottery more than once.

Applicants received e-mails saying they were selected, but shortly after were informed the process had to be repeated because of the technical error.

There are 6,900 applicants and 750 will be selected. The agency plans to conduct a new lottery this week.

Housing authority Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi said this was the first time the agency used a lottery system.

“When the internet is kind of slow on somebody and they press ‘enter’ and they don’t see results quickly, if they press ‘enter’ again, that actually put some (applications) in the system twice, and then they have more of a chance,” Ouansafi said.

The name of one applicant appeared 17 times, he said.

The selection process was subsequently deemed to be unfair because some applicants “had more opportunities than what they should have,” Ouansafi said.

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The software also did not detect fraudulent applications with the same names, social security numbers and addresses, Ouansafi said.

The agency expected to finish its application checks by Wednesday and conduct a new lottery by Thursday, with applicants receiving another e-mail update this week.

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