Open Letter to UH Hilo Regarding the UH Hilo Student Government Election and Election Process

Aloha Dr. Oaks and UH Hilo,

This is an open letter to UH Hilo regarding the UH Hilo student government election and election process. We have not had a clear response from UH Hilo as to why the past election results were ‘nullified.’ We contest that decision and call for the past election results to be made public. We will sign the necessary paperwork to participate in the upcoming ‘new election,’ but we do this in protest.

​We are ​​ greatly concerned as to the way this ‘new election’ is already being handled by UH Hilo staff. Please see the individual complaint made by previously disqualified student candidate Ardena Saarinen below.

We have requested that the ‘new election’ will be fair and transparent. Dr. Oaks responded to our requests as to the handling of the ‘new election’ by saying,

Our campus IT person, Mr. Sunny Walker, has set up a secure system with firewalls and also included measures to protect against hacking and fraud. Only myself, Mr. Walker, and possibly Interim VC Makuakane-Lundin will have access to the votes.

We formally request that information technology specialist, Mike Purvis, be allowed to confirm the accuracy and security of the new voting process. From the handling of the last UH Hilo student government election we do not have confidence that UH Hilo will run a fair, secure, and transparent ‘new election.’

We emailed you a list of questions on April 30, 2014 (attached) regarding questions we have about the last election, and the overall election process . Please answer those questions. We are paying students at UH Hilo, and we have a right to know why we were disenfranchised.

Respectfully submitted,

Disqualified UH Hilo Student Candidates:

Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashreghy
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

These students have filed an ethics complaint against the UH Hilo Election Committee.

Complaint from formally disqualified UH Hilo student candidate on ‘new election’ process:

On Sat, May 3, 2014 at 4:56 PM, Ardena Saarinen <> wrote:

Aloha Dr. Oaks, Ms. Makuakane-Lundin, and fellow candidates,

Again I am writing out of great concern for the way this ‘new’ election is already being handled by UHH staff. My previous email to you pointed out that there was supposed to be an email sent out on behalf of UHHSA on Friday 5/2/14 with the attached fair campaign election code to be signed and returned. I did not hear back from you regarding my concern and the promised email was never sent. In fact, no candidates received an email with this promised information.

Seeing as that my confidence in, UHH, UHHSA and Ellen Kusano has already been greatly diminished, I replied to that ‘candidates meeting’ email and requested that UHHSA send me the documents ASAP so that I could sign and return them.

Ms. Kusano then sent me (and only me) all of those documents. I read them, signed the code of conduct as required, and then scanned it and emailed it back yesterday evening 5/2/14. I was then told via email by Ms. Kusano that I still needed to bring in the original copy to her office by Noon on Monday 5/5/14, or if I could not to have someone else do it.

I feel that this is completely inappropriate in today’s technological world, does campus center not utilize their own computers and printers? This is not a legal document for which an original signature would even matter. I wonder why I must spend even more time on this disaster of an election to meet the demands of

Ms. Kusano. There is nothing ANYWHERE that states I must bring in the ORIGINAL document. This, I believe is another tactic to potentially disqualify either myself or even some of the other candidates. And I absolutely feel that there in nothing FAIR or ETHICAL about the unequal treatment we (candidates) are being subjected to especially during the last week of classes and when we are ALL working on final projects and papers.


Ardena Saarinen,

Student Intern – Land and Property Management, Office of Hawaiian Affairs


One Response

  1. To stay current on the UH Hilo election debacle please see:

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