On this webpage is a history of the controversy regarding Kamehameha Schools' racially exclusionary ("Hawaiian 'preference'") admissions policy, for the year 2009. But first:
A QUICK REVIEW OF EVENTS BEFORE 2009
For general background about the history of Kamehameha Schools and its racially exclusionary admissions policy, with links to webpages covering each year's history of efforts to desegregate the schools since 2002, see:
There have been several lawsuits against Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy. The one that caused the greatest uproar and reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007, got started in 2003.
Following a series of protest marches by thousands of red-shirted supporters of racial segregaton, protesting the mere fact that such a lawsuit was being brought, Judge Alan Kay, in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, issued a ruling on Monday November 16, 2003 upholding the schools' policy. That ruling was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco.
ORAL ARGUMENTS BEFORE THE THREE-JUDGE PANEL OF THE 9TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS WERE HELD ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2004. THE ORAL ARGUMENTS WERE TAPED, AND THE AUDIO FILE WAS LATER MADE AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE OF THE 9TH CIRCUIT COURT. Download is 8.52MB. Dialup internet users should think twice before trying to download such a large file.
On July 2, 2005 the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Kay's decision by a 2-1 vote.
THE 9TH CIRCUIT 45-PAGE DECISION IN PDF FORMAT CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM:
For analysis of the decision, see the webpage: Kamehameha 9th Circuit Decision: the "Big Picture" and Some Brush-Strokes (demolishing Hawai'i's wall of apartheid one brick at a time)
On August 6, 2005 there was a massive red-shirt protest march from the Royal Mausoleum ending with a rally of between 15,000 - 20,000 people at Iolani Palace. The rally included a pro-segregation speech by a red-shirted Governor Linda Lingle, to a crowd that included numerous anti-American signs. Smaller rallies took place on the neighbor islands. For news reports and photos, see:
On August 23, 2005 Kamehameha Schools filed a petition to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asking for an en-banc hearing in which perhaps as many as 23 judges would reconsider the 3-judge decision; and Hawaii Attorney general Mark Bennett filed papers supporting the petition.
On December 5, 2006 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its en-banc decision by a panel of 15 judges. They voted 8-7 to uphold Kamehameha's admissions policy. Here is the full text of the 110-page en-banc decision in pdf format directly from the 9th Circuit Court website. The first 53 pages are the majority ruling, and the last 57 pages are the minority dissents.
During 2007 plaintiff filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a writ of certiorari whereby the Court would agree to hear the case. Each year there are thousands of cases appealed to the Supreme Court, but only about a hundred are actually taken up. During April 2007 there were three weeks when the case was on the docket for the weekly conference of the Justices to consider whether to grant certiorari (take the case), but no decision on certiorari was forthcoming. It turned out that a settlement was being worked on.
On Monday May 14, 2007 it was announced that a settlement had been reached, and the petition for certiorari was therefore dismissed by the Supreme Court by agreement between the parties. Terms of the settlement were never disclosed, although it was speculated that Kamehameha agreed to pay plaintiff's attorney fees and to provide a generous amount of money for the student (who had by now graduated from a different high school) to attend college.
During the summer of 2007 Honolulu Attorney David Rosen announced that he would be looking for plaintiffs to take up a similar lawsuit -- plaintiffs who would agree never to drop or settle the case until the Supreme Court made a decision. Rosen's theory was that such a lawsuit could work its way rapidly up to the Supreme Court since each court along the way had already ruled and could be expected to rule the same way again promptly. However, by the end of 2007 there were no announcements regarding any actual new plaintiffs.
During 2009 it was revealed that Kamehameha paid John Doe $7 Million to settle the desegregation lawsuit in 2006 moments before the Supreme Court would have granted certiorari to take up the case. Kamehameha's annual report said its assets were now worth $9.1 Billion. Attorneys Eric Grant and David Rosen filed a new desegregation lawsuit against Kamehameha, and Kamehameha filed a lawsuit for breach of the nondisclosure clause of the previous settlement. A court-appointed panel recommended doubling Kamehameha trustee salaries to about $200,000, bringing back memories of the million dollar salaries a few years previously. Kamehameha challenged the anonymity of the four plaintiffs in the new Grant/Rosen lawsuit, and Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled that the plaintiffs' names must be made public if they wish the case to go forward (plaintiffs are in fear of violence).
For general background about the history of Kamehameha Schools and its racially exclusionary admissions policy, with links to webpages covering each year's history of efforts to desegregate the schools since 2002, see:
NOW BEGINS A COMPILATION OF NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARIES DURING 2009, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, REGARDING EFFORTS TO DESEGREGATE KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS.
Maui News, January 2, 2009
Judge rules to disclose names in Kamehameha suit
HONOLULU (AP) - For the second time in less than three months, a federal judge has ruled that the names of four students challenging Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy must be publicly disclosed.
U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren ruled Wednesday that lawyers for the four anonymous students haven't provided any new facts to warrant a reversal of his earlier decision to release the names.
Kurren said that the plaintiffs haven't shown a sufficient "need for anonymity" that trumps the presumption of openness in judicial proceedings.
The students are seeking to overturn the school's century-old Hawaiian-preference admissions policy.
On Oct. 28, Kurren wrote that the public, as in other civil rights cases, has ''a strong interest in knowing who is using the courts to vindicate their rights.''
The attorneys for the four students, David Rosen and Eric Grant, had asked Kurren to reconsider, citing anonymous threats posted on the Internet and hostile remarks attached to the comment sections of local online news stories about the admissions controversy.
Parents of the students have said in court papers that they may drop the lawsuit if the children are not allowed to pursue their lawsuit anonymously.
The four students, who are not of Hawaiian ancestry, applied for admission to Kamehameha in the 2008-09 school year but were rejected.
The plaintiffs have the option of appealing to U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright, who is overseeing the case.
Kamehameha Schools operates private schools on several islands that give admissions preference to those of Hawaiian ancestry. Only a few non-Hawaiians have ever been admitted.
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop created the trust that operates Kamehameha Schools in her 1883 will. The nonprofit trust, now worth more than $9 billion, is one of the nation's largest charities, and the state's largest private landowner with more than 360,000 acres.
The lawsuit is just one of several seeking to overturn the Hawaiian-preference policy. A previous lawsuit by an anonymous student was settled before it went before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 5, 2009
Appeal worthwhile in Kamehameha admissions case
A new lawsuit challenging Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admission policy has been put on indefinite hold over the issue of whether the young plaintiffs' names should be publicly disclosed. The circumstances in the case are novel and may require a lengthy appeal on this decisive yet side issue, but no alternatives exist.
Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren ruled in October that the names of four non-Hawaiian students and their parents be made public for the lawsuit to continue, and he reiterated his ruling last week. They now are identified as Lisa, Karl, Jacob and Janet Doe.
The standoff follows an out-of-court settlement in 2007, as the U.S. Supreme was about to decide whether to consider an appeal by a prospective non-Hawaiian student, who went unnamed. The school maintains in the current lawsuit that it needs to check on the young plaintiffs' claims associated with their applications for admission.
Federal rules in civil lawsuits state that "every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest." However, courts have granted exceptions in cases where privacy needs outweigh the "presumption of openness in judicial proceedings."
Among the factors to be considered, according to court rulings, are not only whether the children's interests are at stake -- they certainly are in this case -- but whether the young plaintiffs "would risk suffering injury if identified."
Attorneys for the children maintain that threats made to the anonymous children through media outlets attest to that risk. The children are likely to back out of the suit if their names must be made public, according to the Doe attorneys. Kurren rejected the explanation, ruling that "use of fictitious names runs afoul of the public's common-law right of access to judicial proceedings."
A ruling on whether Kamehameha's admission policy violates federal law must await a final decision of the issue of anonymity.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 17, 2009
** Page 1 headline story
Down $1.7 billion
Kamehameha Schools' endowment takes an 18% hit in the first part of the fiscal year
By Kristen Consillio
The value of Kamehameha Schools' endowment fell 18 percent, or $1.7 billion, in the first four months of the 2009 fiscal year and is expected to plunge further amid a dramatic economic downturn.
The drop to $7.7 billion from July to November from $9.4 billion at the end of the 2008 fiscal year on June 30 reflects the harsh effects of a global financial crisis on even established local institutions. The portfolio totaled nearly $9.1 billion at the end of the 2007 fiscal year.
"While the overall diversification of our portfolio enabled us to weather the initial volatility of the 2008 equity markets, we are by no means immune to the effects of the dramatic fluctuations triggered by the U.S. and global financial challenges that unfolded in the last half of the year," said Kirk Belsby, vice president for endowment, in a 2008 fiscal year education and financial summary released yesterday.
While the portfolio's strong performance earlier last year has provided a cushion, this year's results are expected to drop significantly unless the market recovers in the next six months, he said.
"There are very few places you can hide in the current financial system nowadays," said local economist Leroy Laney.
The state's largest land trust was able to increase the value of its portfolio in the last fiscal year because of Hawaii's strong real estate market and a boost in energy costs, the trust said.
Despite the significant drop in most investment portfolios driven by a global recession, Kamehameha Schools spent more than $273 million, up $23 million from fiscal 2007, on education services for more than 38,100 students -- an increase of 2,100 students in fiscal 2007, according to Dee Jay Mailer, chief executive officer.
"We have surpassed the aggressive outreach target we set for the initial three-year ramp-up of our educational outreach," she said.
The endowment performance in fiscal 2008 generated a 7.5 percent return, exceeding both its composite benchmark by 9.5 percent and peer group target by 7.4 percent. The trust recorded $367.9 million in revenue, gains and other support.
"Despite the challenges we are all facing in this state and around the world, Kamehameha Schools will preserve our effective campus, early education and community educational programs," Mailer said. "This is a time for prudence and for focus on harvesting the efforts of our educational plans."
VALUE OF THE TRUST
Kamehameha Schools has spent more than $1.1 billion cumulatively on educational programs over the past five fiscal years. Here is the trust's endowment for the last five fiscal years:
2008: $9.4 billion
2007: $9.1 billion
2006: $7.7 billion
2005: $6.8 billion
2004: $6.2 billion
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, January 10, 2009
Kamehameha Schools endowment declines by $1.7B
Meltdown in financial markets reduced value by 18 percent, to $7.7B
By Rick Daysog
The value of Kamehameha Schools' endowment plunged by more than $1.7 billion in four months due to the meltdown in the nation's financial markets.
The charitable trust said the value of its investments portfolio and real estate holdings fell 18 percent, to $7.7 billion, between June 30 and Oct. 31.
The declines reverse a stellar 2008 fiscal year when the trust's endowment increased by $367.9 million to $9.44 billion.
"While the overall diversification of our portfolio enabled us to weather the initial volatility of the 2008 equity markets, we are by no means immune to the effects of the dramatic fluctuations triggered by the U.S. and global financial challenges that unfolded in the last half of the year," said Kirk Belsby, Kamehameha Schools vice president for endowment.
Kamehameha Schools is hardly alone among the multibillion-dollar endowments affected by the turmoil in the financial markets.
Last month, Harvard University said its endowment dropped by 22 percent, or about $8 billion, over a four-month period while Yale University said the value of its investments dropped by $5.9 billion, or about 25 percent.
The State of Hawai'i Employees Retirement System saw the value of its investment portfolio drop by about $1 billion to about $9 billion since June.
"What began as an apparent cyclical downturn in the financial markets has become a world economic crisis with ramifications that reach far beyond Wall Street," Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman Ann Botticelli said.
Founded by the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the Kamehameha Schools is a tax-exempt charity that educates children of native Hawaiian ancestry. The trust is one of the nation's wealthiest charities and is the state's largest private landowner.
The investment downturn is not expected to have a severe impact on Kamehameha Schools' educational spending policy. That policy is based not on single-year returns, but on a five-year rolling average of the value of Kamehameha Schools' endowment.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, Kamehameha Schools said it spent $273 million on its educational programs, an increase of $23 million during the year-earlier period.
During the same period, the trust said it served more than 38,100 students, which represents an increase of 2,100 or 7.2 percent.
During the past five fiscal years, the estate said it has spent more than $1.1 billion on educational programs.
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Pay for Kamehameha trustees may rise 69%
Recommendation comes as Kamehameha Schools reports endowment drop
By Rick Daysog
A court-appointed official recommended a 69 percent pay increase for Kamehameha Schools' trustees just as the estate's endowment declined by more than $1.7 billion.
David Fairbanks, the trust's Probate Court appointed master, recommended the maximum pay for most board members go from $97,500 a year to $165,000. The pay raise would be the first in about a decade for the five board members.
A compensation committee had recommended $187,000 a year for most board members. But Fairbanks said he trimmed it by $22,000 because of the recession.
"It could well give the wrong message to the community and be construed as insensitive and somehow marking the KS Trustees (as) immune to the difficult economic times being faced by everyone else in the community," Fairbanks said.
The master's report on salaries was filed in state Probate Court on Thursday, a day before the trust disclosed that the value of its endowment plunged from $9.4 billion to $7.7 billion between July and October.
The decline reversed a stellar 2008 fiscal year when the trust's endowment increased by $367.9 million.
A Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman declined comment until Probate Judge Colleen Hirai reviews the matter. A hearing on the salaries is scheduled for Friday.
In his report, Fairbanks said trustees are entitled to a raise given the amount of time required for the position and the complexities of setting policy for a multibillion-dollar estate.
Kamehameha Schools trustees spend about 2 1/2 to three days a week working for the estate, according to a study by an outside expert, San Francisco-based Mercer LLC. The study was used by the compensation committee to make its recommendation. The study said the Kamehameha Schools trustees spend more than twice as much time on trust matters as the boards of comparable nonprofit organizations and for-profit corporations.
The Probate Court appointed a trustee compensation committee whose members included Kamehameha Schools alumnus Michael Rawlins, insurance executive Douglas Goto and attorney Rosanne Goo. They recommended trustees' maximum pay increase from $97,500 a year to $187,000 a year.
The committee also recommended that the maximum compensation for the board chair be increased from $120,000 a year to $217,500 a year.
Fairbanks' recommendation, if adopted, would increase the maximum pay for Kamehameha Schools board members Diane Plotts, Corbett Kalama and Doug Ing from $97,500 a year to $165,000 a year. Chairman Nainoa Thompson's maximum pay could increase from $120,000 a year to $207,000 a year under Fairbanks' proposal. One other trustee, retired Adm, Robert Kihune, wouldn't be entitled to the full increase because he will retire in June.
Kamehameha Schools, which was established by the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, is a nonprofit trust that educates Hawaiian children. It is one of the nation's largest charities and is Hawai'i's largest private landowner with more than 360,000 acres.
For decades, the issue of trustee compensation has been one of the biggest controversies surrounding the estate.
During the late 1990s, the Internal Revenue Service threatened to revoke the trust's tax-exempt status due in part to the $1 million a year paid to then-board members Richard "Dickie" Wong, Henry Peters, Lokelani Lindsey, Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender.
The IRS later settled with the estate after board members resigned and the trust reformed its governance and pay policies.
The trustee compensation committee was set up in the aftermath of the controversy to cap trustee pay at "reasonable" levels."
In 2004, the committee recommended increasing the maximum pay for a trustee by more than 70 percent to as much as $180,000 for regular board members and $210,000 for the board's chair.
The probate judge approved most of the increase but all five trustees agreed to turn down the raise.
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It's the worst of times for a trustee pay hike
No matter how long overdue a raise for Kamehameha Schools trustees may be, there is such a thing as bad timing.
And this would be it.
The Probate Court master is recommending a 69 percent pay boost — just after the estate's fund took a hit of $1.7 billion.
Certainly, investment-fed endowments of all kinds suffered similar blows from the Wall Street meltdown. But still: bad timing.
All this at a time when the nation is suffering from staggering job losses and a recession unlike anything since the Great Depression. Layoffs and business closures have folks on edge, a fact underscored by low consumer confidence and spending.
Now is hardly the time for well-paid managers of an educational trust to be considering such an unprecedented pay hike.
Consider the numbers:
• Maximum pay for most board members would rise from $97,500 a year to $165,000, according to the recommendation of court master David Fairbanks.
The original proposal by a compensation panel had been $187,000, but the economy led Fairbanks to cut $22,000.
Surely, the trust's beneficiaries won't think the cutback is enough of a reality check.
• Similarly, the top scale for the board chair would be boosted from $120,000 to $217,000 annually.
This would be the first increase in about 10 years for the five board members. But that reduction corrected the excessive compensation packages of the 1990s. Much of the trustees' managerial work was transferred to a new chief executive officer and staff.
Fairbanks cited a study showing trustees spending more than twice as much time on trust matters as the boards of comparable nonprofits. Perhaps the workload should be re-evaluated again.
But approving the raises at this level simply sends the wrong message about the priorities of an estate that should focus on shepherding its educational mission through the tough economic times ahead.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, February 28, 2009
Kamehameha Schools trustees take 10% pay cut, reject raise
Kamehameha trust also rejects plan that called for raises of up to 69%
By Rick Daysog
Trustees of Kamehameha Schools have taken a 10 percent pay cut, citing the charitable estate's weakened financial condition.
Trustees Douglas Ing, Corbett Kalama, Robert Kihune, Diane Plotts and Nainoa Thompson also rejected a controversial plan, approved yesterday by state Probate Judge Colleen Hirai, that would have increased their maximum pay by as much as 69 percent.
"Given the current financial condition of the trust at this time, the Kamehameha Schools trustees will not accept any increase until the situation improves," board members said in a news release yesterday.
"In addition, each trustee has elected to take a 10 percent decrease in current compensation, effective immediately."
The moves come after Kamehameha Schools reported in January that the value of its endowment had declined by more than $1.7 billion, or about 18 percent, during the first four months of its latest fiscal year because of the meltdown in the nation's financial markets.
The financial crisis has prompted the trust to place under review several major construction projects at its Kapalama Heights and Neighbor Island campus, trust spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said.
"It was pono for them to do this," said Jan Dill, a 1961 graduate and former president of Na Pua a Ke Alii Pauahi, which includes students, parents, teachers and alumni of Kamehameha Schools.
Kamehameha Schools is a charitable trust founded by the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate children of native Hawaiian ancestry.
The decision to turn down the pay raises unravels months of work by a Probate Court-appointed trustee compensation committee.
The committee — which includes Kamehameha Schools alum Michael Rawlins, insurance executive Douglas Goto and attorney Rosanne Goo — had recommended pay increases of 65 percent to 123 percent.
Yesterday, Hirai approved a pay increase plan advocated by the estate's court-appointed master David Fairbanks.
Fairbanks recommended increasing trustees' maximum pay from $97,500 a year to $165,000 a year. Fairbanks also called for the board's chairman maximum pay to increase from $120,000 a year to $207,000 a year.
In 2004, trustees turned down a similar pay increase plan that had been approved by Hirai.
The attorney general's office, which serves as a legal guardian for the trust, has said it opposes any pay increases.
The issue of trustee compensation has been one of the biggest controversies surrounding Kamehameha Schools.
During the late 1990s, trustees' pay soared to as high as $1 million, prompting the state attorney general's office and the Internal Revenue Service to conduct investigations into the trust.
As a result of IRS investigation, then-trustees Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong, Oswald Stender, Gerard Jervis and Lokelani Lindsey were forced to resign after the tax authority threatened to revoke Kamehameha Schools' tax-exempt status.
News of Hirai's approval of a pay raise prompted harsh criticism yesterday by some members of Kamehameha Schools 'ohana. An Advertiser online story about the ruling generated negative comments from dozens of readers.
Dill, the 1961 Kamehameha graduate, and Roy Benham, a 1941 graduate and a former president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, said they were disappointed by Hirai's ruling, saying a huge pay raise is difficult to justify given the tight economy.
They argued that the trust's assets could be better spent on its main mission of educating Native Hawaiian children.
When told of the trustees' plan to reject the pay increase, Dill faulted board members for not coming out sooner against any raises.
"It's an issue that shouldn't have gone this far, given the history of where we've been and all the struggles where we've gone through," Dill said.
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who in 1997 ordered Attorney General Margery Bronster to investigate the trust, said yesterday that the trustees did the right thing in turning down the pay.
But he believes that the trust should have a better, long-term pay policy in place to avoid a repeat of the types of scandals that rocked the trust in the late 1990s.
"They really should think about having a permanent policy because no other charitable trust in the nation pays people like this," Cayetano said.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 28, 2009
Kamehameha trustees take pay cut
The board chooses to decline allowable increases in salary
By Associated Press
Kamehameha Schools trustees have rejected a 69 percent raise that was to have gone into effect next January.
In fact, the trustees said yesterday that they will take a 10 percent decrease in compensation, effective immediately.
The announcement came just hours after the pay increase recommended by the trust's Probate Court-appointed manager, David Fairbanks, was approved by Judge Colleen Hirai.
Members of the board would have been paid $165,000 a year, up from $97,500.
The chairman's annual salary would have climbed 80 percent, to $217,000 from $120,000. It would have been the first pay raise for the trustees in a decade.
"Given the current financial condition of the trust at this time, the Kamehameha Schools trustees will not accept any increase in compensation until that situation improves. In addition, each trustee has elected to take a 10 percent decrease in current compensation, effective immediately," the trustees said in a statement.
Kamehameha Schools, one of the nation's largest charities, has been hit hard by the economic downturn. In January it calculated its investment portfolio lost $1.4 billion over four months to stand at $7.7 billion as of Nov. 1.
The trust, Hawaii's largest landowner, was established by the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop as a nonprofit trust that educates Hawaiian children.
"The trustees are committed to the keiki our trust exists to serve, and to the careful management of resources that will allow Kamehameha Schools to education native Hawaiians in perpetuity," the statement said.
The trustees are paid far less than the $1 million annual salaries paid to board members in the late 1990s when the Internal Revenue Service threatened to revoke the trust's tax-exempt status. Board members of the then-Bishop Estate resigned, and the trust reformed its pay policies.
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, March 4, 2009
School trustees put Kamehameha first
By David Shapiro, Advertiser Columnist
The rejection of big pay raises by Kamehameha Schools trustees shows how far they've come in putting the estate's interests ahead of their own since the scandal of a decade ago — and how out of touch the state probate court remains in its oversight of the $7.7 billion trust.
With the economy in freefall and Kamehameha investments down more than $1.7 billion, Probate Judge Colleen Hirai outrageously approved raises of up to 69 percent for the five trustees, from $120,000 to $207,000 a year for the chairman and from $97,500 to $165,000 for other trustees.
To their credit, trustees Douglas Ing, Corbett Kalama, Robert Kihune, Diane Plotts and Nainoa Thompson immediately rejected the raises as inappropriate in the current economy and went a step further by taking a 10 percent cut from their current compensation until the economy improves.
It's a refreshing change from a decade ago, when an earlier group of greedy trustees each made $1 million a year and got themselves removed for scheming to use their positions to profit even further.
It was the second time in five years the current board has turned down outsized pay raises offered by the court, a sign they get it that Bernice Pauahi Bishop intended her bequest to enrich Hawaiian children, not the adults who run Kamehameha Schools.
Hirai and the estate's court-appointed master David Fairbanks don't seem to get this; they've consistently tried to push trustee compensation beyond reasonable levels compared to the pay received by directors of similar nonprofits.
The high salaries paid to former trustees were at the heart of a corruption and mismanagement scandal that nearly cost Kamehameha Schools its tax-exempt status in the late 1990s.
To head off IRS sanctions, a different probate judge removed the five previous trustees, cut the pay of new trustees to the current level and ordered them to hire professional executives to do the heavy lifting on administration and investments.
Critics thought trustee pay was still too high relative to what board members make at other charitable trusts, but within a few years Hirai approved a plan to nearly double their salaries. Trustees declined the raises in 2004 in the face of outrage in the Hawaiian community.
Last year, yet another court-appointed salary panel recommended the current pay raises for trustees, who work 2 1/2 to three days a week.
Fairbanks argued that trustees deserve more compensation because they work twice as many hours as trustees of other nonprofit and for-profit boards.
That still leaves them ahead of the game at their current salaries, since directors of other tax-exempt organizations with similar assets make less than half as much as Kamehameha Schools pays.
The $12.3 billion Ford Foundation, for instance, pays board members between $24,090 and $35,650, and the $9.4 billion Robert Wood Johnson Foundation pays between $21,500 and $46,500.
The Kamehameha Schools job is considered a plum appointment at the existing pay, and higher salaries aren't needed to attract qualified trustees.
The last opening that ended with the appointment of banker Corbett Kalama featured spirited competition among a number of high-powered and politically well-connected applicants.
The court's continuing effort to boost trustee pay beyond what the Hawaiian community and trustees themselves think appropriate only raises suspicion that the political establishment is back at work trying to re-inflate the patronage value of a Kamehameha Schools trusteeship.
As long as current trustee pay keeps drawing qualified applicants like Kalama, it's time for the court to end the needless and expensive salary studies and simply institute regular cost-of-living reviews based on objective economic measures.
The Maui News, March 6, 2009
Kamehameha lawsuit dismissed, but that doesn’t mean it’s over
HONOLULU (AP) - U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the century-old Hawaiian-preference admissions policy of Kamehameha Schools. But the case isn't over.
The dismissal came Thursday at the request of the plaintiffs.
The four non-Hawaiian students who sued had sought to remain anonymous in the case.
But U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren had ruled their names must be publicly disclosed in order for them to proceed with the lawsuit.
After Seabright's ruling, the students' attorney, David Rosen, filed an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to move forward with the case while maintaining his clients' anonymity.
Kamehameha is one of the nation's largest charities and the state's largest private landowner.
Honolulu Star-Bulleting, March 6, 2009
Secret plaintiffs appeal Kamehameha lawsuit
Students not at risk over suit, judge says
By Susan Essoyan
Non-Hawaiians challenging Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy should publicly identify themselves and need not fear for their safety, according to a federal judge and Hawaiians close to the case.
But four students and their families whose case was dismissed in U.S. District Court yesterday are asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow them to pursue the issue anonymously.
Kamehameha Schools gives preference to native Hawaiians in admissions, and the idea of opening the campus to students with no Hawaiian blood has stirred heated emotion. The plaintiffs argued in court that they feared retaliation from "the public at large" if their identities were disclosed.
But U.S. Magistrate Barry Kurren ruled in October that they had failed to show evidence of any threats of physical violence or economic harm. He directed them to reveal their identities if they wished to pursue the case.
The plaintiffs declined to go public, and U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright dismissed their case yesterday. Lawyers wasted no time in filing an appeal to the 9th Circuit.
"We've got a disagreement as to whether or not there's a risk to the plaintiffs and their families if their identities are disclosed," said David B. Rosen, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "That's essentially the only issue that's going on appeal."
The lawsuit was filed Aug. 6 in the names of Lisa Doe, Karl Doe, Jacob Doe and Janet Doe and their parents. Kamehameha Schools said yesterday the students should not feel intimidated in making their case publicly.
"The trustees of Kamehameha Schools would never take an action that would place a child in danger," said Ann Botticelli, vice president of community relations and communications for Kamehameha Schools. "We believe an appeal has no merit, and we will oppose it."
The students' claims echo those of a 2003 lawsuit filed by a separate plaintiff, who remained anonymous and was known only as John Doe. The U.S. District Court and 9th Circuit rejected his claim and upheld Kamehameha's admissions policy. The suit was settled out of court for $7 million last year before it could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to attorney John Goemans.
Jan Hanohano Dill, a 1961 Kamehameha Schools alumnus, said yesterday he objected to giving people anonymity in their court challenges against the schools, the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. He said nothing negative had happened to families involved in previous lawsuits against the school.
"The public and the Hawaiian community deserve to know the people that are attempting to essentially steal money from the legacy," said Dill, former president of Na Pua a ke Ali'i Pauahi, an organization of Kamehameha Schools alumni, parents and students. "I just hope that we can resolve it to save the resources for the needs of our keiki."
Kamehameha Schools operates campuses on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, enrolling about 5,000 students. Only one in eight applicants is accepted into the schools.
In arguing for anonymity, Eric Grant, a plaintiffs' attorney, pointed to threats and inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the current case, the John Doe case and another court case involving a 12-year-old non-Hawaiian student from Kauai.
But in his October ruling, Kurren concluded that "at most, plaintiffs are vulnerable children who have a reasonable fear of social ostracization." He said the public interest in the case outweighs that concern.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 9, 2009
Patience, tolerance needed in school case
A legal quarrel over whether to make public the names of non-Hawaiian youths challenging Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admission policy is likely to significantly delay their lawsuit. If they are forced to abandon their anonymity and win the case, the onus will be on Kamehameha to assure their safety.
Federal court rules specify the "presumption of openness in judicial proceedings." U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright dismissed the lawsuit brought by children identified only as Lisa, Karl, Jacob and Janet Doe four months after a magistrate required that they reveal their true identities. The children's attorneys are appealing the decision.
The rules allow the identity of plaintiffs in civil lawsuits to be kept hidden if they "would risk suffering injury if identified." Eric Grant, one of the youths' attorneys, says threats and inflammatory rhetoric have surrounded the case.
Indeed, the issue of whether the admission policy is unlawful and should be changed has been highly emotional, but the angry letters to the Star-Bulletin have been less than incendiary.
Kalani Rosell, a non-Hawaiian who was allowed to attend Kamehameha Schools on Maui in 2002, said upon graduation two years ago that students would not talk to him at first. That quickly changed, he said, and his friends at the campus called him "Snowy" as a term of endearment.
Ann Botticelli, the schools' vice president for community relations, says the schools "would never take an action that would place a child in danger." If the youthful plaintiffs reveal their identities, win admission to Kamehameha Schools and are injured as a result, Botticelli's assurance is sure to resound in court.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, May 9, 2009
Kamehameha trustee extensions requested
Terms expiring; report cites program continuity
By Rick Daysog
A court-appointed master for the Kamehameha Schools is recommending a one-year extension for trustee Robert Kihune, whose term ends next month.
In a 117-page report filed with the state Probate Court last month, attorney David Fairbanks also recommended a one-year extension for trustee Diane Plotts and two-year extensions for board members Douglas Ing and Nainoa Thompson.
"The potential for loss of substantial institutional knowledge, wisdom, continuity, momentum and even stability is great, and the threats of an interruption in the present, established path of governance, a less-than-smooth transition ... and interruption of important, newly implemented programs are very real," Fairbanks wrote.
Kihune, a retired Navy vice admiral, will step down June 30 after having served on Kamehameha School's board since 2000.
A Probate Court-appointed trustee screening committee recently named three finalists to replace Kihune. They included state Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands Chairman Micah Kane, state Community Development Authority Executive Director Anthony Ching and former Kamehameha Schools executive and ex-DHHL Chairman Ray Soon.
Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones, whose office serves as the legal guardian for the estate, had no comment, saying he has not yet completed his review of Fairbanks' recommendations.
A trust spokesman also had no comment but said the estate will file a response to Fairbanks' recommendations with the Probate Court shortly.
Kamehameha Schools, which was established by the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, is a nonprofit charitable trust that educates Hawaiian children.
It is one of the nation's largest charities and is Hawai'i's largest private landowner, with more than 360,000 acres.
In addition to extending current trustees' terms, Fairbanks also recommended that future board members receive a 10-year term.
Currently, all five trustees serve five-year terms and are eligible for up to two terms. Thompson's term ends next year, Plotts' tenure ends in 2011 and Ing's term ends 2012.
Trustees earn about $90,000 a year.
Fairbanks said he was satisfied with the progress made by Kamehameha CEO Dee Jay Mailer and her management team but expressed concern about continuity within Kamehameha's boardroom in light of the recent financial challenges faced by the trust.
His report noted that the value of the trust's endowment dropped by 20.4 percent from $9.44 billion on June 30, 2008, to $7.36 billion on Dec. 31, 2008, as a result of the global financial downturn and the national economy.
"The recent dramatic downturn in the economy, significant losses in investments, the decline in the real estate market with attendant reductions in revenues and lower values, and their potential adverse impact upon the trust's educational programs including outreach programs, make it critical that the transition to an essentially brand new board of trustees be as smooth as possible," he said.
Honolulu Weekly, May 13, 2009
Wayfinding Through the Storm
by Gavan Daws and Na Leo o Kamehameha,
Watermark Publishing, 384 pages, $24.95
[book review in Honolulu weekly by RAGNAR CARLSON]
Ten years ago last week, a Honolulu judge ordered the removal of Bishop Estate trustees Dickie Wong, Henry Peters, Gerard Jervis and Lokelani Lindsey and accepted the resignation of the fifth, Oswald Stender. Probate Judge Kevin Chang’s ruling brought a dramatic close to a long and torturous spectacle that had rocked 114-year-old educational trust, devastating morale at Kamehameha Schools and dominating news coverage and talk-story sessions around the state for years.
For most of us, the impact of Chang’s decision was fundamentally political. Newcomers to the Islands can scarcely imagine the extent of the estate’s influence in Hawaii during the last decades of the 20th century. The world’s largest private charitable foundation was also Hawaii’s biggest private landowner, with trustees selected by a Supreme Court that was deeply in the grip of one of the last true Democratic machines. It was a toxic combination, and the perception of corruption and greed was widespread. When the Bishop Estate trustees went down, most believe they took with them the Democrat’s long control over Washington Place. For Hawaii politics, the “Broken Trust” affair, as it came to be known, was the end of an era.
For the Kamehameha ‘ohana, however–for the school and students the trust exists to support–the events of the Broken Trust years were personal. The battles were found in their classrooms, in their offices, in their homes. Lifelong friendships were shattered and careers ruined as alliances shifted and trustees, particularly lead education trustee Lindsey, consolidated their control over every aspect of life at the school. Students were threatened, and in many cases punished, for daring to speak out about the changes coursing through the school.
It is this part of the story, not the politics or the court hearings or the media battles but the lived experience on the Kapalama campus, that makes up Wayfinding Through the Storm, a new oral history from Watermark press. In the book’s foreword, a collaborative effort by 12 committed members of the ‘ohana known as “The Friends of Na Kumu O Kamehameha,” they write of the book through the metaphor of mele. “Over 150 voices share their experiences…it’s an arrangement with many parts, each voice carrying its own timbre, color and texture.”
It may sound like overwrought hyperbole, but it’s true to the feeling of the text. In short, generally chronological bursts, few of them more than 200 words in length, participants in the drama from custodians to trustees share their memories of events as they unfolded, and as they were experienced. There’s little point in quoting from the histories at length here–to continue the musical metaphor the authors suggest, isolating any one voice fails entirely to capture the overwhelming power of all the elements taken together.
This is, in many ways, a devastating work. With the passage of time it’s become possible for many us to forget the extent to which the situation at Kamehameha deteriorated. Armed guards posted outside employee homes, phones tapped, lives threatened, physical confrontations and untold instances of harassment, including that of students under the Schools’ care. Those who lived through these events, of course, can never forget. Their lives, and their beloved Kamehameha, descended during those years into a kind of madness. Wayfinding Through the Storm, in allowing the voices of Kamehameha to speak for themselves, stands as a testimony to that madness, and in so doing presents itself as an act of healing.
** Ken Conklin's note: This description of life at the school under Lokelani Lindsey sounds exactly like life on tribal reservations under tribal governments. And that's a great point to make in opposing the Akaka bill -- Kamehameha School is run by ethnic Hawaiians, for ethnic Hawaiians -- Kamehameha and OHA and DHHL are as close to sovereignty as Hawaiians have ever been, and we can see how they have handled it.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin,May 22, 2009
Q&A: Battle for Kamehameha Schools
A renowned isle historian captures more than 150 oral perspectives
By John Berger
Gavan Daws' impact on Hawaii goes back more than 40 years to the days when almost everyone who attended UH-Manoa took his "Introduction to World Civilization" class in Varsity Theater -- more than 70,000 students between 1963 and 1973.
His history of Hawaii, "Shoal of Time," stands as one of the definitive references more than 40 years after he wrote it.
In 2008, he set a new standard for multicultural inclusiveness in local literature with "Honolulu Stories," an anthology representing two centuries of written impressions of the city. It won the Samuel Kamakau Award for Book of the Year at the Po'okela Palapala Awards earlier this month.
With those credentials, it's no surprise to find him leading another landmark literary project, "Wayfinding Through the Storm: Speaking Truth to Power at Kamehameha Schools 1993-1999," an oral history of the unprecedented commitment by students, alumni, parents, teachers and administrators in risking everything to challenge the Bishop Estate trustees for control of the future of the historic Kamehameha school ohana.
The Star-Bulletin sat down with Daws on Monday to ask a few questions about the book in anticipation of its official release this weekend:
QUESTION: Why now? Is there any significance or kaona in the timing ?
ANSWER: There's no particular significance. It's just how the project developed with the people at Kamehameha Schools. There was an editorial committee made up mostly of people who lived through (the struggle) and were active reformers.
It is the nature of committees (to move slowly), but that's OK. The value of the book -- and books in general -- is long term.
Q: Why an oral history?
A: Let me read two paragraphs that are from the introduction. This is a big point about how the book was done: "Written history often comes out on the page sounding remote, dry (and) abstract. That was not the way that the crisis years were lived at Kamehameha. Those were terrible times. Things happened at Kamehameha Schools, and to the people at Kamehameha, that were so wrong as to be unbelievable. The schools have had a long and honorable life as an educational community with an invaluable social mission to serve Hawaiian children, but now the mass termination of staff, 170 in a single sweep of the scythe, parents rousted by campus security, teachers and staff threatened with interrogation and lie-detector tests, anonymous phone threats at home, rumors of phones being tapped on cameras, spy cameras, clandestine informants and black lists, distrust everywhere escalating to paranoia poisoning the atmosphere so that education could not live and breathe freely.
"The crisis at Kamehameha threatened the death of good teaching and good learning."
That's a major point. The '90s should have been the best decade in Kamehameha's history.
A: Bishop Estate was worth billions. The estate is supposed to give all the money to the schools. The schools are more Hawaiian than they've ever been. An all-Hawaiian board of trustees, (the) first Hawaiian president of the schools, Mike Chun, who's an alumnus, and you've got the Hawaiian Renaissance -- that's the context, getting stronger and stronger all the time. By the '90s, clearly, the Renaissance is cresting.
Q: How many people participated in the project?
A: One hundred fifty-plus out of something like 250 interviews. With 150 voices, from standard English to pidgin with some Hawaiian thrown in, you get all kinds of storytelling. For this kind of book, that's way better than single-voice-third-person, and I am not in love with the sound of my own voice, either spoken or on the page.
Q: In the case of different versions or one event or another, how did you fact-check statements about who did what and when?
A: Chronology and other facts weren't in question. The blood and bone, the heart and soul of this book, is the human experience; the moral decisions people had to make, the reactions to the Lindsey reign of terror. Again, oral histories the best for this. People tell you in their own words.
Q: Were former trustees Richard Wong, Henry Peters, Lokelani Lindsey asked to participate?
A: No, no more than the reformers would have been invited to take part in Peters' or Wong's or Lindsey's memoirs, which they haven't written. This is a book of the experiences of the reformer/resisters.
Q: Did Oz Stender and Gerard Jervis participate?
A: Oz, yes, extremely usefully. ... Jervis, no, as for the other majority trustees.
Q: Weighed against "Shoal of Time," "Land and Power," "Prisoners of the Japanese" and "Honolulu Stories," how difficult or time-consuming was this book?
A: "Shoal," "Land" (and) "Prisoners" were prolonged, industrial-strength research. "Honolulu Stories" was an edit, speed-reading through enormous numbers of pages but only looking for Honolulu-based things.
This book (contains) millions of words, but again, speed-reading (was) possible. The thing was to select and arrange and sequence material so as to tell a human story the best way.
Q: How do you describe this book?
A: The book was done for, and in collaboration with, Kamehameha Schools teachers and staff who were reformers/resisters, a few of them who really started the whole thing. Those few are the heroes, and it's a great story about standing up for the right and good against huge odds. ... If there are "warriors" in the story, that's who it is -- and some of them are women.
Q: Anything else?
A: Everybody lives their life, and that's the truth of their life, so there is no reason to think that one book contains every human truth about a given experience. This is the human truth of the experiences of the people who had to live through those horrendous years. I would love to hear the human truth (of those years) as written by the majority trustees. I'd love to hear that, and everybody would love to do that. They haven't done that. This is a free country. They're free to write their book. They have not.
** Note from website editor Ken Conklin:
I sometimes receive correspondence from ethnic Hawaiians who have high-profile jobs as partners in law firms and businesses or other responsible positions in the community. They usually ask me to keep their names confidential for fear of retaliation against themselves, their families, or their businesses; and I always respect that request. The following e-mail was received from such a person, who was apparently a high-level employee of Kamehameha Schools under the regime that was ousted. The writer seems to be trying to defend the old regime in general, and Lokelani Lindsey in particular, by trashing the new trustees and the new administrators; and especially by trashing Gavan Daws and his book. Perhaps the sender of this e-mail was hoping I might endorse his views and give him publicity. Perhaps the bad old trustees are trying to fight back against the new wave of publicity which shows just how bad they really were.
Check out the new book with Gavan Daws as the "front man." It is
another one-sider about the KSBE storm of the late 90's...this time
the compiled of viewpoints of the poor poor victims of those nasty
former trustees (especially L. Lindsey), namely the teachers and
students of KS at that time. Over the past decade there have been
numerous books and articles "beating-up" those old trustees. There
must be a lot of money in such works that profess to be academic in
nature....keeping people like Randy Roth, Walter Heen, and their
alcoholic federal judge friend (King) in the spotlight all the time.
I'm sure this new work will continue to build upon the myths
surrounding the sacred trust, Mike Chun, Nainoa the Great (pardon me,
I just heaved), and so on, and on, and on. Keep up your efforts. You
are a much needed voice against the myth builders, history
fabricators, monarchists, and crooks that run our so-called Hawaiian
Please do not use my name publicly, but here are some behind the
scenes facts about the forthcoming book about KSBE. The new book uses
Gavan Daws' name to provide an air of legitimacy to an effort that was
funded entirely by Kamehameha Schools over the past decade. Shortly
after the mass hysteria of the late 90s pushed the old trustees aside,
their enemies assigned David "Kawika" Eyres the task of coordinating
and writing of the new book. Randy Roth was to be the "front" face to
legitimize the propaganda effort, but he dropped out of the project
after a couple of years. Janet Zisk, the KS Archivist was also deeply
involved in the effort, and a great deal of insider support came from
the likes of Kehau Abad, Randy Fong, Julian Ako, Holoua Stender, Bina
Chun, and Charlene Hoe, who were key leaders of the anti-Loke effort.
Anyhow, Kawika was on full KS salary over the past decade as he
gathered the oral statements cited in the book. I wonder what kind of
deal Daws received, in order to lower himself to the role of "front
man?" Anyway, I expect the book to be nothing more than the same kind
of emotion-laden dribble that instigated the mass hysteria against the
"bad" trustees. I always find it interesting how the "esteemed"
media/press here in HI likes to refer to Mrs. Lindsey as nothing more
than a former gym teacher and hula dancer. They never refer to her
past roles as Track Coach, Principal or District Superintendent, etc.
And they never seem to question the assignment of Charlene Hoe as
VICE PRESIDENT OF EDUCATION for all the KS campuses (through the power
of Nainoa the Great) between 2003 and 2006. She was only a third grade
art teacher at KS before the 1999 overthrow; wonderful credentials for
a key educational leadership role?
There is SO much more to the story of the overthrow of "bad" trustees
that may never get told because of the massive emotional frenzy
perpetuated by media and those books by the likes of Rath, Roth/King,
and now Daws. Enough said for now though.
I have read your book, and agree with many of your points. Though I do
not agree with everything you write, I respect both your right to do
so, and your gumption to do it. As a **age redacted** part Hawaiian, I am
saddened by much of what I observe happening today. I dread that so
many of our young people may be led on the path toward over dependence
on handouts/entitlements while trying to relive an imagined idealized
past. But, like so many others, I fear being being cut ('oki) by
friends and loved ones, and thus end up taking the cowardly path,
avoiding open controversy instead of jousting with the all powerful
Inouye/Thompson/Chun cabal. The thorough ongoing shredding and ripping
of Loke Lindsey's life is a prime example of what Hawaiians will do to
each other if they get into a collective emotional frenzy. Take Care.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, May 28, 2009
Voices that toppled trustees
By Jerry Burris
History, they say, is written by the victors.
That is surely true of the new book "Wayfinding Through the Storm — Speaking Truth to Power at Kamehameha Schools 1993-1999," out now through Watermark Publishing.
This is the story of the uproar that convulsed Kamehameha Schools, led to the ouster of the first all-Hawaiian board of trustees and changed forever the governance structure at the powerful landholding and educational institution. Edited by respected historian Gavan Daws, this is not your typical history.
Rather, it is an oral history, the words and thoughts of the faculty, students, parents, alumni and others who chose to stand against a powerful institution and its all-powerful leaders: the trustees. Against all odds, the uprising succeeded. That makes the victors, in this book they collectively call themselves Na Leo o Kamehameha, the ones who get to tell the story.
Drawn skillfully by Daws out of millions of words, oral history interviews and transcripts, the story infolds, so to speak, in real time, in the words of those who lived it.
It is anything but a balanced accounting of what happened during those dramatic days, as if balance is even possible when one of Hawai'i's historic and most powerful institutions was brought virtually to its knees. Largely missing in this version of the story are the words of the five trustees who make up the "bad guys" in this telling. Well, make it four trustees. Former trustee Oswald Stender, who openly encouraged the insurrection, comes off fairly well. And he is frequently heard from.
The other four — Henry Peters, Richard "Dickie" Wong, Gerard Jervis and Lokelani Lindsey — are largely mute in this accounting. They are quoted at times out of the official record, or from news accounts, but they are largely seen at a distance, malevelolent, manipulative, uncaring and ultimately dangerous to the good health of the estate and its education mission.
The ultimate metaphor here is the moment when a courageous crowd of alumni and others marched on the estate offices to demand reform from the trustees. Rather than meeting the crowd in an open, Hawaiian way, the trustees hid behind windows, looking down on the protesters while staff took their photos and wrote down names.
Daws acknowledges the absence of the trustees in his bruising introduction. "There are other stories from the crisis years that could be told," he writes. "In particular, it would be good to hear from each of the majority trustees. How would they assess their roles? How would they justify their disastrously damaging decisions and explain their staggering miscalculations? This would make interesting reading and would be valuable, as part of the historical record of Hawaii," Daws wrote.
So, if the trustee part of the story is missing, what you get is more than valuable. It is a starkly human story. The faculty, students, parents and others who stood up against the trustees did so at great risk, and they knew it. Wayfinding at times takes on the tone of a spy novel, with tales of bugged telephones, secret informants and verbal and physical threats.
And there is little subtlety here. The trustees come across as just short of pure evil. And by far the worst of them in this accounting was the "education" trustee, former Maui educator Lokelani Lindsey. Overbearing, out of her element, bullying, obstinant, Lindsey comes across in this accounting as, in Daws' words, "a disaster."
If anything, this book is an indictment of Lindsey, whose active involvement (the authors would say "meddling") was the proximate cause of the downfall of the trustees. Forget the self-dealing, the extravagant salaries, the political manipulation that was already well-known in the community.
All the dramatic moments are relived through the voices and emotions of the people on the front lines, the teachers, parents, students and others of the Kamehameha 'ohana.
This is, in short, a story of courage, emotional pain and a healing process which by any account is still under way.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo), Saturday July 11, 2009
Kamehameha Schools staff votes for union
by Bret Yager
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
Barring any successful objections, the high school at Kamehameha Schools Hawaii now has a union.
Out of 51 teachers, 36 voted in favor of forming the union, 14 were against and one ballot was void.
The high school will be represented by the Kamehameha Schools Faculty Association, the same union which represents teachers on Oahu's Kapalama campus.
One teacher close to the organization effort said teachers don't want to comment until after the results are certified.
Friday afternoon's vote tally by the Hawaii regional office of the National Labor Relations Board is followed by a weeklong period where objections may be filed prior to the certification.
"I respect the decision of our high school faculty and we plan to work cooperatively with KSFA as the process evolves," said the Keaau campus headmaster Stan Fortuna. "We have a compelling mission and we believe all of the faculty is 100 percent committed to this mission. We may be working in a different way due to this vote, but I'm confident we'll continue to do great things."
Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen did not immediately return a call for comment late Friday afternoon.
KSFA petitioned for the election in April. The labor board held the election May 26, but the results were delayed due to an unsuccessful appeal by the Kamehameha administration on the grounds the high school vote should not have been taken separately from the elementary and middle schools.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 3, 2009
2 Kamehameha boys charged in sexual assault of boarder
By Leila Fujimori
Two 13-year-old Kamehameha Middle School students were charged yesterday in connection with the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl on the Kapalama campus over the weekend.
Authorities charged one boy with sexual assault and burglary, and the other with three counts of burglary, sources said.
The girl, who is also a student, reported she was sexually assaulted between 1 a.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Monday, police said. The alleged crimes occurred in the Kamehameha Schools' campus dormitories, sources said.
Police arrested the boys Tuesday at the school on suspicion of six counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault and three counts of kidnapping and burglary. The boys were held at the Alder Street detention facility, police said.
In response to a Star-Bulletin inquiry on whether the alleged crimes have prompted Kamehameha Schools to institute any policy changes in the dormitories or on campus, or whether any new safeguards were put in place, Kamehameha said in a written statement: "Student safety is our primary concern and we are confident that our students are safe."
Kamehameha Middle School has 540 seventh- and eighth-grade students from Oahu and 100 from the neighbor islands, according to its Web site.
The middle school "is where the Kamehameha Schools boarding program begins," the Web site says. Kamehameha Schools has students from elementary to high school level.
In 2003, a 17-year-old girl and her mother filed suit, alleging she was forced to leave the school in her sophomore year in 2001 because campus officials would not expel a football player who, she said, had sexually assaulted and harassed her since seventh grade. Kamehameha paid her tuition to another school.
Also in 2003, four football players and a female student were expelled after a videotape surfaced of the players having sex with two female students.
On Tuesday, Kamehameha Schools issued a statement saying the school and police were investigating a situation involving several Kamehameha Middle School students that was reported to school administrators early Monday.
Kamehameha Schools did not acknowledge that the "situation" was a sexual assault and kidnapping, but only said that it involves a criminal complaint and that Kamehameha is cooperating with police in its inquiry.
Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen would not say whether the boys who were arrested have been expelled or suspended.
The written statement said Kamehameha's internal investigation "is looking into potential violations of its student Code of Conduct, with any consequences to be determined in accordance with school policy.
"Because this investigation deals with potential disciplinary action involving minors, details will not be discussed or released publicly by Kamehameha Schools," the statement said.
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, September 3, 2009
2 boys held in alleged sex assault on girl, 12, at Kamehameha campus
Kidnap, attack were on Kamehameha campus, she says
By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer
Two 13-year-old boys were arrested after a 12-year-old girl told police Monday she was held against her will on the grounds of the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus from early Friday to early Monday and repeatedly sexually assaulted.
"Kamehameha Schools and the Honolulu Police Department are investigating a situation involving several Kamehameha Middle School students that was reported to school administrators early (Monday)," school officials said in a statement yesterday. "The police investigation involves a criminal complaint, and Kamehameha is cooperating fully with HPD in its inquiry."
The two boys were arrested on suspicion of six counts of first-degree sexual assault, five counts of third-degree sexual assault, three counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.
The boys are being held at the Alder Street detention facility pending a meeting between prosecutors and police.
Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city prosecutor's office, said he is barred by law from saying anything about the case because it involves juveniles.
The news shocked the Kamehameha Schools community.
"We need to establish the facts about what actually happened," said Jan Dill, an alumnus and a board member for the Kamehameha support group Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi. "I think we need to encourage all parties that there needs to be a timely addressing of the issues because it doesn't help to let speculation reign."
On Monday night, school president Michael Chun sent recorded messages to parents' telephones addressing speculation about the incident which was "rampant on Facebook pages," said Ann Botticelli, vice president for community relations and communications for the school.
"Mike's message to parents was provided to acknowledge that very serious allegations were being investigated by police and internally," Botticelli wrote in an e-mail.
"The protection of our students is our primary concern, and that includes protecting them from violations of their privacy through the casual use of social media."
One parent added that students may need help dealing with the incident.
"I just hope they counsel the seventh- and eighth-graders because they are asking a lot of questions," said the parent of a seventh-grader who asked not to be identified because the school requested parents not speak publicly about the case.
The statement from the school said: "The internal Kamehameha Schools investigation is looking into potential violations of its student Code of Conduct, with any consequences to be determined in accordance with school policy. Because this investigation deals with potential disciplinary action involving minors, details will not be discussed or released publicly by Kamehameha Schools."
When asked if the school had notified police about the incident, Botticelli said, "When such serious allegations are involved, our first concern is for the emotional stability of the child. We rely on parents to file criminal complaints on behalf of their children."
Kamehameha Schools' Kapalama campus is its largest with more than 600 acres. Some students, especially those from Neighbor Islands, live on the Kapalama campus.
Kamehameha Schools was rocked by an event in November 2003 that included the production of a video that showed students at the school engaging in sexual activities.
School officials said that disciplinary action following that incident "included expulsion of some students."
Advertiser Staff writer Gordon Pang contributed to this report. Reach David Waite at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-7412.
** Ken Conklin's comment on Advertiser article, deleted along with all other comments posted there. It seems the general public was dumping all over Kamehameha, which is one of the Advertiser's sacred cows.
As the article points out, there have been several other sex scandals at Kamehameha in recent years.
Does Kamehameha have more of this than other schools? Or is it fairly "normal" for schools? I don't know.
But what I do know is that Kamehameha zealously enforces its "Hawaiians only" admissions policy. And Kamehameha trumpets "Hawaiian values" as being somehow different from (and superior to) the values of other ethnic groups.
Therefore we are entitled to judge "Hawaiian values" according to whether sexual perversity is more frequent -- perhaps endemic -- at Kamehameha than at other schools; and we are especially entitled to judge "Hawaiian values" by looking at how school officials handle this situation and others like it.
Do school officials cover it up? Do they deal with it effectively? What have they done following previous incidents, and how effective were their actions?
If Kamehameha persists in allowing only "Hawaiians" to attend, and if Kamehameha insists that the school's mission is to inculcate "Hawaiian values" and that the school also operated according to "Hawaiian values" then we are entitled to judge "Hawaiian values" and "Hawaiians" themselves according to what goes on at the school and how school officials deal with it.
Of course it's wrong to judge an entire value system or an entire ethnic group on the basis of the actions of a few individuals or a single institution.. But when that institution has its entire focus on perpetuating a culture and allowing admission solely to people who are members of that culture, then when scandals like this repeatedly occur there, we can reach one of two conclusions: either the ethnic group and its cultural values are disgraceful, or else the institution itself is woefully deficient in representing that ethnic group and those cultural values.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, September 5, 2009
Kamehameha Schools obligated to report alleged sex assault to police, Hawaii attorney says
Kamehameha was obligated to notify police, lawyer says
By David Waite
Kamehameha Schools was required under state law to call police immediately after a 12-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted repeatedly by two classmates over a three-day period that ended Monday, a prominent Family Court attorney said.
Francis "Frank" O'Brien, a private attorney who specializes in child protection matters before the court, said Hawai'i law clearly states that employees or officers of a school must notify the state Department of Human Services or the police department immediately when a student reports being sexually assaulted.
The reporting requirement applies to both public and private schools, O'Brien said.
Ann Botticelli, vice president for community relations and communications for the school, said Wednesday that school officials did not contact police after the girl reported the incident. The school relies on parents to file criminal complaints on behalf of their children, Botticelli said at the time.
Yesterday Botticelli gave what she called a fuller explanation of the process in an e-mail to The Advertiser:
"When alleged student misconduct is reported at Kamehameha Schools, our first priority is to ensure the safety and emotional security of the student. We also begin an immediate investigation of the allegation, and as soon as we have reason to believe a serious incident occurred, we notify the students' parents, and we assist and support the parents if they decide to report the incident to the police."
Two 12-year-old boys who attend the school were arrested after the girl talked to police on Monday.
The boys were arrested on six counts of first-degree sexual assault, five counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.
Police said yesterday that the kidnapping count was not included in a petition filed with the Family Court to take the matter up. Officials would not say why the kidnapping counts were not included in the petition.
Botticelli said yesterday the school stands by its decision not to call police about the incident.
"If there were a mandatory reporting requirement for this situation, we would have followed it," Botticelli said in an e-mail response to questions from The Advertiser.
O'Brien said the reporting requirement has been on state law books for more than 25 years.
"It strains the credibility of the school to say it does not believe it was required to report the matter," O'Brien said.
The law also provides immunity to people who file "good faith" reports of suspected child abuse cases, including allegations of sexual assault, O'Brien said.
"If a child came to school badly beaten with obvious bruises, then, of course, we would expect the school to report the matter," O'Brien said.
The same thing should hold true if a child reports being sexually assaulted, he said.
Failure to comply with the reporting requirement is a petty misdemeanor.
State schools superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said the reporting requirement is spelled out in Chapter 19 of the Department of Education's administrative rules, which have the effect of law.
"If we suspect something is criminal, we shall report it to the police," Hamamoto said. "We shall inform the police. It means mandatory reporting. For the department, if anyone knows of any potentially criminal activity, there must be a mandatory report to police."
If she is on campus and a student reports he got beat up, "I have to pick up the phone and call the police, call the parents," Hamamoto said.
Advertiser education writer Loren Moreno contributed to this report. Reach David Waite at 525-7412.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 5, 2009
School did not report alleged sex assault of 12-year-old girl
Two students were arrested but the girl's parents called police
By Leila Fujimori
Kamehameha Schools did not report to police that a 12-year-old girl was sexually assaulted, allegedly by two 13-year-old boys, in on-campus dorms, instead leaving it to the girl's parents to report the incident.
"If there were a mandatory reporting situation, we would have followed it," said Ann Botticelli, spokeswoman for Kamehameha Schools. "Our primary concern is the emotional stability of the child. We rely on parents to file criminal complaints on behalf of the children.
"We call police when there is imminent danger to the students," she said.
When asked about the potential danger posed to other students by the suspects, Botticelli said she could not comment.
Police charged two male students, one with sexual assault and burglary, the other with three counts of burglary.
Public schools are required by state law to report to authorities criminal acts ranging from drugs to sexual assault.
The girl told school officials Monday morning that she had been assaulted in a dormitory on the Kapalama campus from Aug. 28 through Monday.
The boys were arrested Tuesday on six counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault, three counts of kidnapping and burglary.
Botticelli said she could not comment on the safety of other students, including other boarders at the dormitories.
"In a private or a public institution, when a legal crime has been committed when private or public, you're obligated to call police," said Michael D'Andrea, a University of Hawaii professor in the College of Education and former coordinator of the Hawaii school-based violence prevention program.
"The responsibility of the professional educator is to protect the students and not to neglect the students, and sometimes that is outweighed by the politics of the schools," D'Andrea said.
He suggests that schools should rethink curriculum and include violence prevention, moral education and character education, which has proved to demonstrate increased understanding of others and produced a reduction of violence.
Meanwhile, online discussion via social networking sites about the alleged incident prompted a voice-mail message to parents and students by Michael Chun, Kamehameha Schools president.
In the message, aired on KITV, Chun said: "I have learned that there is discussion occurring among our students. And there have been postings in cyberspace, social network sites about this incident.
"While the proper administrators continue their investigation ... I ask that all of us as responsible Kamehameha adults and students not engage in discussions based on rumors, innuendoes and half-truths," he said.
Botticelli said: "When alleged student misconduct is reported at Kamehameha Schools, our first priority is to ensure the safety and emotional security of the student. We also begin an immediate investigation of the allegation, and as soon as we have reason to believe a serious incident occurred, we notify the students' parents, and we assist and support the parents if they decide to report the incident to the police."
She said, "We have said to parents and staff that we are cooperating fully with the Honolulu Police Department's inquiry and are also launching our own investigation. From what we've learned so far, we're confident that the appropriate steps to address the situation have been taken and the safety and security of the middle-school environment has been preserved."
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Kamehameha Schools' actions in sex assault case anger parents
Kamehameha's handling of sex assault case upsets parents of alleged victim
By Mary Vorsino
The parents of a 12-year-old girl who reported being repeatedly sexually assaulted by two classmates in a Kamehameha Schools dormitory over a three-day period are angry with the way campus officials dealt with the incident, including with their decision not to call police after hearing the allegations, Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz said.
"There were concerns about the way this was handled. We will be looking at those," said Seitz, who was retained by the parents yesterday. "There has been a lot of unhappiness expressed" by the parents.
Seitz added that the girl and her parents, who called police themselves when they arrived at the Kapalama campus after being informed of the incident, are "devastated."
"As you can imagine, it's a major struggle," Seitz said. "They're having a very difficult time."
Seitz would not go into specifics on the alleged sexual assaults and the way in which Kamehameha Schools responded to them, saying "at this point our main concern is the young lady who is the victim."
But he did say that those details would be pursued, possibly for a civil lawsuit.
"The greater concern is what we can do to help this young woman deal with what she now has on her plate," he said. "It doesn't really help us at this point publicly to rehash those issues."
Kamehameha Schools has said it relies on parents to file criminal complaints on behalf of their children, which is why police weren't called by campus officials.
School spokesman Kekoa Paulsen would not say yesterday whether the school is looking to revise the policy.
In an e-mailed statement, Paulsen said that "this matter is now in the hands of the police and the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office. Kamehameha Schools is cooperating fully in their investigations, and to preserve the integrity of that process — and out of respect for the privacy of all of the families involved — we will not further discuss this matter publicly."
Last week, Ann Botticelli, vice president for community relations and communications for the school, said, "When alleged student misconduct is reported at Kamehameha Schools, our first priority is to ensure the safety and emotional security of the student. We also begin an immediate investigation of the allegation, and as soon as we have reason to believe a serious incident occurred, we notify the students' parents, and we assist and support the parents if they decide to report the incident to the police."
Education officials and legal experts have raised questions about the decision by officials at the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus not to call police after the girl reported being sexually assaulted.
They said Hawai'i law states that employees or officers of a school must notify the state Department of Human Services or the Police Department immediately when a student reports being sexually assaulted.
Failure to comply with the reporting requirement is a petty misdemeanor.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu would not say yesterday whether the department is investigating the school's response to the incident.
The girl reported the alleged sex assaults to campus officials Aug. 31. She said she had been sexually assaulted on that day and the two previous days.
Her parents called police once they arrived at the Kapalama campus.
Two 13-year-old boys at the school were subsequently arrested on six counts of first-degree sexual assault, five counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.
Police said the kidnapping count was not included in a petition filed with the Family Court to take the matter up. Officials would not say why the kidnapping counts were not included in the petition.
Kamehameha's Kapalama campus on O'ahu has a boarding community of 555 students in grades seven through 12, according to its Web site.
The 600-acre campus is Kamehameha Schools' largest.
Seitz is no stranger to Kamehameha Schools.
The attorney represented five students who were expelled from the school in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal in 2003. The students had been accused of making videotapes depicting sexual acts, something they denied.
Seitz also represented former Kamehameha Schools trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong, who faced allegations of wrongdoing linked to a Hawai'i Kai land deal. The case was later dropped.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 9, 2009
Next time, police will be notified
Kamehameha Schools changes its policy following the reported rape of a student
By Susan Essoyan
After facing a barrage of criticism for not calling police when a 12-year-old student reported she was raped on campus, Kamehameha Schools now plans to alert authorities of "serious offenses" in the future.
In a Sept. 6 letter to the "Kamehameha-Kapalama Ohana," Headmaster Michael Chun wrote that the school's "first response is to immediately protect the children who are involved once we learn of an incident."
He said the school followed normal procedure last week, ensuring the students were safe, gathering information, then notifying parents and assisting them if they wished to notify police. But in an apparent shift, the letter goes on to say:
"However, we also recognize the police have a kuleana (responsibility) to investigate and gather evidence when a potential crime has occurred," Chun wrote. "We respect that kuleana and in the future will notify the proper authorities of serious offenses even as we fulfill our kuleana to our haumana (students)."
The girl, a boarder at the school, told the administration on the morning of Aug. 31, a Monday, that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted in a dormitory on the Kapalama campus over the weekend.
The police arrested two 13-year-old male students the next day, and they were referred to Family Court on five counts of first-degree sexual assault, as well as third-degree sexual assault and burglary, police said.
Last week, Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman Ann Botticelli told the Star-Bulletin, "We rely on parents to file criminal complaints on behalf of the children." She added that the school calls police when there is imminent danger to students.
State law requires "employees or officers of any public or private school" to immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Human Services or police. Abuse includes "when the child has been the victim of sexual contact or conduct."
"If it's something involving family members, then we would investigate," said Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services. "If it doesn't involve a relative or family member, then it should be reported to the police."
The news from Kamehameha Schools last week brought up painful memories for Carmael Kamealoha Stagner, 36, of Kaneohe. She contacted the Star-Bulletin to say that as a 12-year-old at Kamehameha, she had been sexually harassed, pinched and grabbed by the breasts. After she reported one incident to administrators, a group of boys sexually assaulted her in the locker room, she said.
"They cornered me after I came out of the shower," she said. "I had only a towel on. I fought them off as much as I could. They were telling me during the time they were assaulting me that they were doing it because I told."
She went home that day and refused to return to the school, although she did not tell her parents why.
"Today I know those acts were degrees of sexual harassment and assault, and another young lady has been victimized," said Stagner, who is a substance abuse counselor. "Could I have prevented her pain had I been more assertive when I was 12 years old?
"When I heard that the school didn't report it, what I thought was, 'How many other incidents happened that the school didn't report?'" Stagner said. "That really bothered me when it said the police weren't informed. You've been responsible for children for over 100 years, and you don't have a policy and procedure on reporting sexual assault?"
In Hawaii's public schools, the discipline code requires staff to report serious offenses, according to Sandy Goya, spokeswoman for the Department of Education. "Most certainly, if there is a burglary or assault on campus, we would definitely report it to police. Or if we find a dangerous weapon on campus, like a firearm, we would certainly be reporting that immediately."
'Iolani School follows similar procedures, according to spokeswoman Cathy Lee Chong.
"As a school, we are required by law to report any suspected child abuse to the authorities," she said. "Any serious cases, we would definitely call authorities. The students are in our jurisdiction. Their safety and welfare is our top priority. If there is an allegation of rape, we would definitely call the authorities."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 10, 2009
Report sex assaults
Kamehameha Schools was derelict in leaving the decision to contact police about an alleged rape of a student up to the parents. School officials should have been aware of their legal requirement to report the incident to police, who in turn should have informed all schools long ago through its outreach programs about the legal obligation of both public and private schools.
As it turned out, the parents of a 12-year-old student boarder at the school reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted by two 13-year-old male students over the Aug. 29 weekend, and police arrested the boys on charges of sexual assault and burglary. State law requires schools to report incidents "when the child has been the victim of sexual contact or conduct."
In a letter this week to the "Kamehameha-Kapalama Ohana," Headmaster Michael Chun said the school's policy is to first protect the children involved, then gather information about the incident, notify the parents and "assist them with decisions regarding any further actions they may wish to take, including notifying the police." However, he added that the school "will notify the proper authorities of serious offenses" in the future.
The Hawaii law requiring a school to immediately report such incidents to police is common around the country. In Colorado Springs, Colo., The Classical Academy, a charter elementary school, was criticized for neglecting to report to police a 10-year-old girl's allegation in October 2005 that she was sexually assaulted.
A report to the Colorado Department of Education this year found that there was no evidence that school officials had conducted an in-house investigation, as they claimed. A school district administrator reported it to police six months after the incident; the police investigation was inconclusive.
Surveys cited by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that half of the rape victims nationally are juveniles, and the bureau estimated that in 1992 nationwide about 17,000 girls under age 12 were raped.
Reluctance to report incidents to police may be more prevalent amid the ivory towers of private schools. But public or private, schools are not to make the determination of probable cause, which Kamehameha Schools seems now to understand.
Carmael Kamealoha Stagner of Kaneohe told the Star-Bulletin that she had been sexually harassed, pinched and grabbed as a 12-year-old at Kamehameha 24 years ago. After she reported one incident to the school's administration, she said, the same boys sexually assaulted her after she came out of a shower.
When Stagner learned that the school did not report the recent August incident, "What I thought was, 'How many other incidents happened that the school didn't report?'" she said.
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, September 11, 2009
Kamehameha must renew sense of trust
Kamehameha Schools President Michael Chun has written a letter to the families of students and alumni, hoping to reassure them after allegations of sexual assault on the Kapalama campus rocked the community.
But what the letter accomplished was to underscore how much more work school officials face before anyone can expect to be fully reassured.
In the letter, dated Sept. 6, Chun draws a distinction that's difficult to appreciate, given the seriousness of the allegation. The school uses one approach, Chun said, when the law requires schools to report "abuse or neglect in the home." There's another practice that applied when the 12-year-old student, a boarder, reported being raped by two male students over the course of a weekend.
In the latter category — "serious offenses between students here on campus" — the school's first response is to "immediately protect" the students, keeping them safe, gathering information, he said.
Nowhere does Chun explain why that protective act couldn't have happened in tandem with a police report.
Kamehameha should have had a clear policy to report such a serious allegation so police can begin investigating promptly. The fact that it took this case to compel that change is unconscionable.
The letter includes a pledge that, going forward, officials "will notify the proper authorities of serious offenses." That's an appropriate first step to re-establishing trust in the school's safety policies.
Chun said he would, "over the next few weeks," hold meetings with the school community to provide updates and answer questions. He owes them a full explanation of policies and facilities established to protect students. The door should remain open for the long term for families who entrust their children to the school's care.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 25, 2009
Kamehameha Schools' hiring of teacher challenged
By Susan Essoyan
** Large and small photo of the teacher were included in the article, with this caption:
A former Catholic seminary teacher who was banned by his religious order from teaching and ministry with minors after being accused of sexual misconduct in Wisconsin is teaching at Kamehameha Schools.
A national group known as SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, is protesting Thomas J. Gardipee's employment at Kamehameha, saying he should not be working with children.
"He's clearly credibly accused of sexual misconduct with kids; that's why his own supervisors took action against him twice and why he's not teaching at a Catholic school now," said David Clohessy, national director of the Chicago-based network, founded in 1988. "Why would Kamehameha Schools be so reckless as to hire him?"
Kamehameha Schools said it stands by Gardipee, 52, who joined the staff in August 2002 and teaches world history to high school students at its Kapalama campus.
"He is a valued member of our high school teaching faculty and is an employee in good standing," said Kekoa Paulsen, director of community relations and communications. Asked whether Kamehameha Schools had checked his references before hiring him, Paulsen said he could not discuss details of personnel records.
Gardipee did not respond to phone messages left at his home and school or an e-mail sent to his Kamehameha Schools account this week. His lawyer, Dean Choy, sent the Star-Bulletin a letter noting that criminal charges against Gardipee were dismissed and warning that the newspaper could be sued if it defamed him.
Gardipee was hired by Kamehameha a year after he chose to leave his religious order, the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, where he was a lay brother. He had been suspended from his job as teacher and athletic director at St. Lawrence Seminary High School in December 1992 after allegations of sexual misconduct, then permanently removed from the job, according to John Celichowski, provincial minister of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.
The Detroit-based province owns and runs St. Lawrence, a residential school for Catholic boys founded in 1860, which draws students from around the country and abroad to its hilltop campus in Mount Calvary, Wis.
"Gardipee was not permitted to return to teaching and did not do so during the remainder of his time with the Capuchin Order," Celichowski said in a written response to questions from the Star-Bulletin. "In addition, he was prohibited from engaging in any ministry involving minors."
"Gardipee spent his remaining years with the Capuchins making and selling pottery," Celichowski said. "He was granted a dispensation from his religious vows in May 2001."
In March 1988, Gardipee had faced similar accusations and was pulled off the job but reinstated three months later, a decision the province now believes "was not handled well," Celichowski said.
The problem surfaced again along with wide-ranging allegations of sexual abuse of students by various friars at the school, as described in articles in The Milwaukee Journal on Dec. 20, 1992. Former students told the Journal that Gardipee gave them alcohol, condoms and erotic magazines, and two said he asked them to come to his room to masturbate with him.
The province appointed a special counsel to conduct an independent investigation, which found instances of wrongdoing, Celichowski said. As a result, the school made substantial changes to protect students and ensure that misconduct allegations are dealt with fairly and effectively, he added.
"The Province concluded that while Gardipee's reported misconduct did not result in a criminal conviction, it was inappropriate and unacceptable for a friar -- particularly one working with young people," Celichowski said. "Therefore he was not permitted to return to teaching."
In January 1993, Gardipee was charged with enticement of a child for immoral purposes and trying to intimidate a victim, but those criminal charges were dismissed in March in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court. A Milwaukee Sentinel article reported that the judge said the evidence showed that Gardipee had disrobed and massaged himself in a whirlpool room in front of the boy, but there was not probable cause that he had committed a felony.
On April 6, 1993, a 21-year-old alumnus of the school filed a civil suit in Circuit Court in Waukesha County against the Capuchin Province, St. Lawrence Seminary, the school's rector and Gardipee. The student accused Gardipee of sexually abusing, harassing and stalking him, as reported in the Chicago Tribune and the Wisconsin State Journal. A settlement was reached in that suit, according to Celichowski, although terms were not disclosed.
Although it is customary for employers to check references before hiring, St. Lawrence School has no records of Kamehameha Schools inquiring about Gardipee, according to Timothy Schroeder, business manager at St. Lawrence. Nor does the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph have any record of an inquiry from Kamehameha Schools about Gardipee's background, Celichowski said.
Paulsen, the Kamehameha spokesman, said the school "performs criminal background checks on all employees who will be in contact with our students. Beyond that, I cannot discuss details relating to any individual's personnel records."
The Wisconsin Circuit Court Access online database reveals the criminal charges that Gardipee faced, as well as the fact that they were dismissed and he is presumed innocent. The site also shows that Gardipee was named as a defendant in the civil suit, but there is a typographical error in his last name on the online record.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction maintains a Web site of educator licenses, and Thomas J. Gardipee appears in it with the notation "Licenses Denied." Patrick Gasper, communications officer, said the department began proceedings to revoke Gardipee's license in 1994 but determined that could not be done because the license had already expired. So it used the notation "denied."
"That was our way of flagging that record so that if this person was to reapply for a license, we would do a much more thorough review of it," Gasper said.
Gardipee did not need to have a license to teach at St. Lawrence Seminary or at Kamehameha Schools, because they are private schools. Had he applied to work at a public school, however, he would have needed a license.
Sharon Mahoe, executive director of the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board, which licenses teachers here, said the board participates in a national clearinghouse in which states report on teachers whose licenses were suspended or denied, and license denial "would be a red flag."
"If you've gotten your licensed revoked somewhere, the likelihood of you being able to get a license anywhere is very slim," she said.
On a Web site where students rate their teachers -- ratemyteachers.com -- one Kamehameha student raved about a trip to Europe with Gardipee. The 2007 entry reads: "Gardipee owns!!!go on his europe trip." Asked whether Gardipee takes students on trips, Paulsen replied, "I'm told that he does that independent of KS -- that is not a KS-sponsored activity."
Clohessy said SNAP, the survivors network, only recently found out that Gardipee was teaching again.
"Our goals are simple: heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable," Clohessy said. "We've seen, more and more in recent years, priests who were suspended because of abuse allegations resurface elsewhere in other occupations around kids. That's very, very troubling."
"No truly reformed alcoholic would even try to work at a brewery," Clohessy said. "No truly reformed child predator would even try to get a job at a school. And even if they hired him, gave him the benefit of the doubt at his hiring, which we would say is dreadfully reckless, they certainly owed their parents and staff and the public some honesty."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Saturday, November 14, 2009
Teacher resigns because of allegation 'distractions'
By Star-Bulletin staff
Kamehameha Schools has accepted the resignation of a teacher who was banned by his religious order from teaching and ministry with minors after being accused of sexual misconduct in Wisconsin about 17 years ago.
Thomas Gardipee's resignation was accepted "to eliminate any possible lingering distractions," said Michael J. Chun, president and headmaster of Kamehameha Schools, Kapalama Campus.
The resignation follows a Sept. 25 story in the Star-Bulletin reporting Gardipee's background and what his order regarded as "inappropriate behavior."
Chun, who made the announcement yesterday, said criminal background checks conducted by an outside firm prior to the hiring of Gardipee in 2002 did not uncover any criminal convictions.
"We confirmed that all charges in the criminal suit brought against him in Wisconsin were dismissed," Chun said.
Chun said there have been no subsequent allegations leveled against Gardipee during his tenure at Kamehameha Schools.
"To the contrary, published reports of the ... Wisconsin accusations have drawn hundreds of statements of support from our students, faculty and parents," Chun said.
Gardipee, 52, who joined the staff in August 2002, taught world history to high school students at the Kapalama campus.
He was unavailable for comment when called last night, and his lawyer has said that criminal charges against Gardipee were dismissed.
Gardipee was suspended as a teacher and athletic director at St. Lawrence Seminary High School in December 1992 after allegations of sexual misconduct arose, then permanently removed from the job, according to John Celichowski, provincial minister of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.
Celichowski said Gardipee spent his remaining years with the Capuchins making and selling pottery and was granted dispensation from his religious vows in May 2001.
Gardipee was hired by Kamehameha a year after he chose to leave his religious order.
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, November 28, 2009
Kamehameha increases grants
Public charter schools received $7.2 million to help Hawaiian students
By Diana Leone
Kamehameha Schools has given other educational institutions $23 million for the current school year, as part of its mission to help educate Native Hawaiians beyond its own campuses.
The grants total is an 18 percent increase over the $19.5 million distributed last year, said Chris Pating, Kamehameha Schools vice president of strategic planning and implementation.
"We are social venture capitalists — we want to invest in helping build capacity in other organizations," Pating said. "There are fantastic organizations out there that do fantastic things. We can invest in them and help build their capacity."
Ninety groups sought Kamehameha Schools grants this year, the school said in a news release.
Those given grants have "shown that they can deliver quality educational services on a sustainable basis," the release said.
Public schools receive a good chunk of the Kamehameha Schools grants — and there is good reason for it, Pating said.
Kamehameha Schools serves almost 7,000 students at its three campuses and multiple preschools. But it's estimated there are 76,000 school-age Native Hawaiian children, of which 65,000 are in Hawai'i's public schools.
"So it really behooves us to be working in partnership with public- school children, because that's where the majority of our children are educated," Pating said.
Public charter schools with a Hawaiian emphasis get a particular boost, with grants from Kamehameha Schools for the past five years.
"Charter schools are feeling the pinch" of reduced state funding, Pating said. "They know it will always be a challenge for them," because the state gives them less money per student, he said.
For Hawai'i's smallest charter school, Kamehameha's contributions in recent years have made a big difference.
"We're forever grateful to Kamehameha Schools," said Haunani Seward, principal of Ke Kula Ni'ihau O Kekaha on Kaua'i, which uses the grant to hire native Hawaiian speakers who are working on their state teaching credentials.
Ke Kula Ni'ihau O Kekaha has 40 students in grades kindergarten through 12, all of whom speak Hawaiian. Use of English doesn't start until fourth grade.
That connection of one Native Hawaiian teaching another is also fostered with Kamehameha's grants to the University of Hawai'i.
"It's very important to have teachers from the community teaching in community schools," Pating said. "Students need to see their face in the face of their teacher."
To that end, some UH programs help Native Hawaiians seeking education degrees to follow through, even though many are working, going to school, and raising their own families, Pating said.
Other UH programs help teachers of any background learn about "Native Hawaiian learning styles and how to be successful in classrooms," Pating said.
Other major collaborators and grant recipients include Alu Like, 'Aha Punana Leo, Kanu O Ka 'Aina, Partners in Development Foundation and the Institute for Native Pacific Education & Culture.
"What's heartwarming is to see so many of our graduates from our campus programs serving in Hawaiian communities. Many of our partners are led or staffed by Kamehameha Schools alumni — serving our people as our Princess served us," Kamehameha Schools CEO Dee Jay Mailer said in a news release.
Kamehameha's top eight collaboration partners for the 2009-2010 school year are:
• Public charter schools (16 schools): $7.2 million
• Hawai'i Department of Education: $1.8 million
• 'Aha Punana Leo: $1.7 million
• University of Hawai'i: $1.5 million.
• Kanu O Ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana (KALO): $1.4 million
• Alu Like: $1 million
• Partners in Development Foundation: $1 million
• Institute for Native Pacific Education & Culture (INPEACE): $1 million
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Downturn hit Kamehameha Schools with $2.2 billion loss
Global financial crisis forces adjustments at Kamehameha Schools
By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer
The value of Kamehameha Schools' endowment fell by more than $2.2 billion in the wake of the global economic meltdown, prompting some belt tightening at the state's wealthiest charitable trust.
The estate said yesterday that the value of its investments declined 23.7 percent to $7.20 billion during its fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, from the year-earlier's $9.44 billion.
With the recent rally in the nation's financial markets, the value of the trust's endowment has bounced back to about $7.7 billion as of November. But the recent gains were not enough to avoid budget cuts at the estate.
The trust has reduced operational and capital spending by 10 percent during the past year, and its top 13 executives have taken a 5 percent pay cut.
"(Kamehameha Schools) was not immune to the national and international financial crisis that began in 2008 and has continued to date," the trust's court-appointed master, David Fairbank, said in a report filed in state Probate Court on Monday.
"Obviously, in these difficult financial times, the trustees must exercise even greater vigilance in providing prudent oversight of the endowment activities."
The investment decline was less severe than those experienced by other large educational organizations such as Yale, whose endowment value dropped 27 percent during the same period, and Harvard, whose investment portfolio tumbled 30 percent.
The downturn has not affected spending on Kamehameha Schools' core mission of educating children of Hawaiian ancestry, officials said.
Nonconstruction educational spending during the 2009 fiscal year increased to $234 million during the 2009 fiscal year from the previous year's $215 million, said spokeswoman Ann Botticelli.
She said the trust this year plans to provide $23 million in grants to partners in the local community, which include charter schools and social services agencies such as Alu Like Inc. The $23 million represents an 18 percent increase from the 2009 fiscal year.
The estate said it plans to disclose more complete investment and educational spending data when it releases its annual financial report in the next several weeks.
Founded by the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Kamehameha Schools is a tax-exempt charity that educates children of Native Hawaiian ancestry. The trust is one of the nation's wealthiest charities and is the state's largest private landowner.
In recent years, Kamehameha Schools has greatly expanded its spending on educational and other programs.
Benefiting from a booming stock market and gains in other investments, such as hedge funds and private equity funds, the estate's nonconstruction educational spending has more than doubled from about $100 million in 2000 to $234 million today.
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, December 18, 2009
5.5% less spent on academic plans
By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Education Writer
Kamehameha Schools spent 5.5 percent less on educational programs in the 2009 fiscal year than the year before, though the trust said it increased its reach to Native Hawaiian children by 16 percent compared to last year.
Of the $258 million the estate spent on educational programs, about $83 million was spent on community outreach programs to reach Native Hawaiian children not educated within the walls of one of Kamehameha's campuses.
The release of Kamehameha Schools' education spending figures comes just days after news that the estate's endowment fell by more than $2.2 billion. The trust has had to reduce its operational and capital spending by 10 percent during the past year, and its top executives have taken 5 percent pay cuts.
The data is being formally released today as the school celebrates Founder's Day, honoring Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, whose will created the trust.
Chris Pating, Kamehameha's vice president of strategic planning and implementation, said while the estate is not immune to the economic downturn, it remains on track to meet the goals in its Education Strategic Plan to increase its reach to Native Hawaiian students.
After several years of aggressive growth, Kamehameha entered a four-year evaluation phase to determine which of its programs are working and are having an effect on the learning of Hawaiian students. Spending was expected to level off while Kamehameha Schools conducts the evaluation phase of its plan, where programs are being measured for their effectiveness and substantiality .
"If there was ever a good time for an economic crisis to come, it was at this particular point, where we're in a leveling off phase. It's not a decrease in services. It's just making sure what we're doing works," Pating said.
Over the years, some within the Native Hawaiian community have criticized the trust for not doing enough for the education of all Hawaiian children, not just those who attend its campuses. Kamehameha officials have acknowledged that the trust has to do more to reach more Hawaiian keiki.
For the past several years, schools officials say, Kamehameha has partnered with dozens of community organizations, education providers and the public school system to benefit the learning of Native Hawaiian children across the state.
For instance, some 16,710 children — infants to age 8 — were served through the school's preschools, preschool scholarships, literacy instruction, and collaborations with private providers. The trust awarded more than $29 million in preschool and post-high scholarships.
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