Flags Seized at UHMC, New Standard Ensures Equal Heights

February 16, 2018, 12:20 PM HST · Updated February 16, 12:52 PM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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Flags Seized at UHMC, New Standard Ensures Equal Heights
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Flags raised at equal height at the UHMC Hoʻokipa building. PC: 2.16.18 by Wendy Osher

A group of about 15 individuals seized the American and Hawaiian flags at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College on Wednesday, requesting that both flags be flown on two separate poles of equal height.

According to University administrators, the group cited their belief that “the American flag flying over the Hawaiian flag was a symbol of years of oppression by the American government.”

Campus security responded without incident as the group requested to speak with Chancellor Lui Hokoana.  A meeting was held with the chancellor in the Wong Conference room to hear their concerns.

UHMC Hoʻokipa building. PC: 2.16.18 by Wendy Osher

“We thought the action was unnecessary as the chancellor is a Hawaiian advocate and would have listened to the request anyway,” said UHMC spokesperson Kit Zulueta, who noted that similar action has happened at other UH campuses.  According to Zulueta, a request for funding was already underway for construction of two flagpoles near the main Kaʻahumanu Avenue entrance to the college.

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Hokoana sent a message to University of Hawaiʻi Maui College ʻohana on Wednesday following the incident indicating that the college would temporarily implement a different flag standard starting on Thursday, Feb. 15, until construction and installation of a second flagpole is finished.

Hawaii flag. File photo by Wendy Osher.

“We have been trying to get a second flagpole constructed but that work is not done.  In the interim, starting tomorrow we will post the American flag and Hawaiian flag on two separate poles and not use our current flag pole,” he said in communication to the UHMC ʻohana on Wednesday.

The two flags will be posted on 7 foot poles (types of poles that are normally used to post a flag indoors) outside of the Wong Conference Room at the Hoʻokipa building.  “We will continue
this flag standard until the construction of a second flag pole on campus is completed,” said Hokoana.

According to Hokoana, UH President David Lassner and the UH campus chancellors agreed to the two-flagpole approach that is used at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol and other University of Hawaiʻi campuses.

It is unclear what affiliation the group has to other organizations, but school administrators say the group is not with any club on campus.  A social media post shows that some of the demonstrators claimed an affiliation to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

In December of 2014, Hawaiian Kingdom advocates participated in a similar effort held at the University of Hawaiʻi Hilo campus, as documented by Big Island Video News.

Welo Ana E Ka Hae Hawaiʻi.

Learn About the History of the Hawaiian Flag:

On another note, Kamehameha Schools Maui will host an event for the public to learn more about the history of the Hawaiian flag next week.  Welo Ana E Ka Hae Hawaiʻi will be held on Friday, Feb. 23, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the school’s Keōpūolani Hale.

The public is invited to learn more about the history of the Hawaiian flag and its representation of Aloha ʻĀina through stories, images and song that reflect a devotion to the homeland.  Lāhui Rising is designed to create a respectful, safe and enriching learning space for students, staff, alumni, families and the community to hear and honor different voices and perspectives on matters of Hawaiian interest for purposes of education. Lāhui Rising is presented by the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Cultural Event Series.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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