University of Hawaii students get say in budget cuts

Dr. Virginia Hinshaw
Dr. Virginia Hinshaw
Olivia Uchima
Olivia Uchima
AJ Duxbury
AJ Duxbury
Mark Ing
Mark Ing

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - After months of frustration, it seems concerned University of Hawaii at Manoa students will finally have their say in how the administration administers nearly $76 million in state-mandated budget cuts.

University officials have been busy making tough decisions that impact education. But students say the only problem is they were left out of the process.

It was a summit of University of Hawaii at Manoa students, frustrated over finances.

"It's just a useless impossible situation right now," said UH Student Olivia Uchima.

They converged over budget cuts.

"We've had to leave positions vacant, non-renew 150 personnel, reduce operating costs in every way we could," said UH Chancellor Dr. Virginia Hinshaw.

"My department got cut," said Uchima.

Olivia Uchima is enrolled in the Communications Sciences program, a casualty of the university's latest cuts.

"It's super frustrating because I'm half way through school and now I have to transfer," said Uchima.

AJ Duxbury doesn't like that classes like Women's Studies were also let go.

"I'm concerned about a public university undergoing a political restructuring," said UH Student AJ Duxbury.

Those at the meeting say it's not necessarily about the students, programs and personnel affected, but more importantly it's the process.

"The transparency of the prioritization process and the lack of student input. There's really been none over the last six months," said UH Student Body President Mark Ing.

But ask and they shall receive. Chancellors agreed to allot at least one position on the University's budget committee for students.

"We really appreciate the administration coming out, a little late but better than nothing," said Ing.

A relief for all. Administrators and now students team together and advocate for the education they deserve.

While enrollment is up 4%, UH Manoa's 88,000 students are also dealing with 10% fewer classes this fall. Students are also considering an effort to lobby state legislators for additional funds to make up for the cuts.