List of UH professors offering courses at TMT protest camp on Mauna Kea grows

Published: Aug. 5, 2019 at 9:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The list of University of Hawaii professors offering classes at a TMT protest camp on Mauna Kea started last week ― and is rapidly growing.

The list comes as some students say they’re planning to stay at the protest site for as long as it takes.

Mahealani Ahia, who’s working on her doctoral degree in English at UH with a concentration in Hawaiian literature, has been living in a tent on Mauna Kea for three weeks and says she’s confident she’ll be able to remain a full-time student with professors offering distance learning at Mauna Kea.

“There were some that thought they were actually willing to take a pause on their education so the fact that the professors are willing to help us find a way to continue to learn and continue to study is really a blessing,” she said.

So far, more than 80 professors have signed up to offer some type of course remotely at Mauna Kea. In all, they’re offering 160 different courses.

They range from online courses to individual credit opportunities, with the requirements agreed on between professor and student. Other professors are planning to travel back and forth to teach on campus and on the mountain.

“The different approaches to learning and having students be able to be on the mauna and study in many different fields in classes that are offered, I think that is so exciting,” said UH English Professor Kuualoha Hoomanawanui.

UH said in a statement that it’s aware of the list.

“University of Hawaii campuses have published class availability for the upcoming semester. We anticipate that scheduled courses will be taught as officially described," the university said. “Students are preparing to start the academic year and have made plans based on those schedules.”

The course offerings come in the fourth week of a large Thirty Meter Telescope protest at the base of Mauna Kea. Hundreds of university students and professors are among the protesters.

One of the courses English professor Cynthia Franklin is planning to teach is African American literature, which she believes has ties to Mauna Kea through politics, human rights and colonialism.

“I thought that it was important that it not just be thought of as a Hawaiian only issue or that only kanaka maoli will care about this issue,” she said.

UH starts in three weeks and UH professors say they do not expect any push back from the university’s administration on the class offerings. So far, astronomy has not appeared on the list.

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