• COMING SOON!

    2016 Big Island Film Festival
  • Breaking News

  • World Botanical Garden
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    May 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

UH Hilo Student Senator Amber Shouse Reappointed – Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin Being Replaced

On December 8, 2015 UHHSA Senator Amber Shouse was reappointed to her position of Senator at Large by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin. Makuakane-Lundin is being replaced. Makuakane-Lundin declined to comment.

UHHSA Senator Amber Shouse

UHHSA Senator Amber Shouse

Shouse said, “I am thankful the wrong has been righted. I hope UH Hilo can further bring justice to this situation. I am looking forward to serving the student body as I was elected to do.”

Shouse had been unjustifiably removed from UHHSA on October 2, 2015, and then again on October 5 by a cabal led by UHHSA President Lazareth Sye and Treasurer Melinda Alles. Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano was present during the meeting and did not discourage the unjust removal.

Kusano sent an email to Sye on 9/28/15 mentioning Shouse in a derogatory manner 4 days before the removal saying, “Amber persists in believing that I’ll be the puppetmaster of the advisor just as she believes I’m UHHSA’s puppetmaster.  She needs to realize that whoever is feeding her this garbage needs to be ignored. … I hope she hears what Aunty Gail is really saying rather than what she wants to think Aunty Gail is saying.” Kusano has declined to comment. Shouse has filed complaints with UH Hilo.

Vice President Abraham Jose, former UHHSA Data Director Kawehi Kanoho-Kalahiki, COBE Senator Alison Pham, Senator David Khan, Senator Jessica Penaranda, Senator Nick Nguyen, Daniel Woods along with Sye and Alles were responsible for Shouse’s unjustified removal. Only Senator Pham chose to comment. She said,  “I would like extend my sincerest apologies to Ms. Shouse for how she was removed. I hope we can improve UHHSA to provide a better, more fair, and more transparent student government for UH Hilo.”

UHHSA Adviser Shara Mahoe sent an email responding to Shouse’s 10/27/15 appeal saying, “The preponderance of the evidence collected supports your allegation that you [Shouse] did not overstep your boundaries as an UHFISA Senator by communicating directly…with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Gail Makuakane-Lundin and Dean of Students, Kelly Oaks.”

Shara Mahoe stepped down as UHHSA Adviser on 11/5/15. At the 10/8/15 UHHSA meeting Mahoe had requested funding from UHHSA to supplement her income possibly in violation of state law.

President Sye and the rest of UHHSA have yet to issue a formal apology to Shouse for the unjust removal.

UHHSA Senator Briki Cajandig said, “Amber’s reinstatement was a fair and ethical decision. She has always deserved her spot on the Senate and represents students to the best of her ability with integrity. I’m so glad we have the chance to work together once again.”

Dean Kelly Oaks was also present at the 10/5/15 UHHSA meeting, the 2nd meeting Shouse was unjustifiably removed. She declined to comment regarding the reappointment.

Former UHHSA senator and UHSUnews reporter Jennifer Ruggles said, “Our student government receives $170,000 in student fees every year and unsettling events like this discourage student participation. It’s alarming how the student affairs administrators who oversaw Shouse’s removal, like Director Kusano, continue to allow such undemocratic behavior at a place of higher learning.”

UH Hilo has not commented.

For more information contact UHSU at: uhstudentunion@gmail.com

UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) Senator Removed From Office – Complaints Filed

UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) Senator Amber Shouse was officially removed from her seat as senator last Monday, October 5, 2015.

Amber Shouse defends herself in front of the Student Government.

Amber Shouse defends herself in front of the Student Government.

Shouse was removed for allegedly violating UHHSA’s constitution by communicating with administrators without the student body president’s permission.

The first thirty minutes of the meeting were public and can be seen here.

The recording shows the senate majority voting to close the meeting despite Shouse’s requests to keep it open. UHHSA members also insisted no recording devices be present. Shouse said that she wanted to record the meeting for her own personal records, and UHHSA members insisted she could not.

The basis for removal was an email that Shouse had sent Chancellor Donald Straney and Dean of Students Kelly Oaks describing how she had been harassed by certain UHHSA members and university officials. It was because of this email that Shouse was accused of violating Section C. of the constitution for “representing UHHSA in an official dealing with the University Administration without the president’s appointment.”

“Amber was one of the 3 out of the current 12 senators who was ran opposed in the 2015 election and was legitimately elected by the student’s majority vote. She was popular for bringing a non-status quo perspective to the table,” said UH Hilo student and former UHHSA senator Jennifer Ruggles. “In fact, the current UHHSA president, Laz Sye lost to her in the election,” she said.

Sye was later appointed to President by other senators who also ran unopposed.

Campus Center Director and State of Hawaii employee Ellen Kusano was alleged to have sent out an email to the UHHSA senate defaming Shouse. Shouse says may have lead to her harassment and removal.

“It seems unethical that a student senator can be harassed and then removed for reporting the harassment,” said Shouse. “My removal was unwarranted. I am disappointed by the actions of the UHHSA senators but I am appalled by the actions of Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano who’s defamatory email I believe led to my unjustified removal and harassment,” she said.

Shouse reported that the vote was 8 in favor of her removal, 2 opposed, with one abstention, (Shouse was required to abstain). UHHSA Treasurer Melinda Alles called for a secret ballot vote on the removal, and the majority supported the idea. Senators Briki Cajandig and Ryan Stack publicly opposed the removal. UH Hilo Student Association members Lazareth Sye, Alison Pham, Jessica Penaranda, Melinda Alles, Abraham Jose, Kawehi Kanoho-Kalahiki, Daniel Woods, David Khan, and Nick Nguyen supported Shouse’s removal.

Current UHHSA Senator Briki Cajandig said, “Amber is an amazing colleague of mine. She’s always worked hard to represent our students here at UHH. Her intentions have always been pure; she took her position seriously and serving students to the best of her ability was a main priority. It is very disappointing that such a passionate and caring leader has been removed from the Senate.”

Shouse is filing complaints with the university.

UH Hilo Students Rally for Clean Elections

Yesterday over 75 students and community members marched from UH Hilo to The State Building to support Clean (Publicly Financed) Elections. Students carried individual signs that collectively read, “cut big money out of politics,” and, “clean elections = clean government.”

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

UH Hilo students rallying for clean elections

Amber Shouse, one of the student organizers of the event said, “Clean Elections is the reform that makes all other reforms possible. The pilot Clean Elections program for Hawaii County has worked well, and, as a result, our local government is more beholden to the public than to big money. We ask the state legislature to adopt the Clean Elections program for state races as well as county races.”