New club approved after protest

Erin Goya, Staff Writer

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A new campus club is now focused on all issues in Hawaii after administrators initially denied a club focused on the Mauna Kea protest. 

On Sept. 4, 50 students gathered at Scudder Dining Hall to march for the creation of the Mauna Kea club. Student leaders Faith Rawlins, Noah Javellana, and Emalee Spencer led a march from Scudder to Damon in hopes of creating a club to spread awareness for the Mauna Kea protest. 

During that day, students walked from Scudder Dining Hall to Damon Hall  chanting “We want a club! We want a club!” The resulting videos and images got shared across social media platforms throughout the weekend, getting reactions from both students and community members. 

Javellana said he wanted to start the club because “I thought what was happening on Mauna Kea  is wrong and that people should know and be educated. 

“A lot of people just blindly make a judgement on whether it is good or bad,” he said. 

The issue of Mauna Kea became prominent in the news as native Hawaiians set up camp in front of the access road leading up to the summit to protest against the construction of a 30 meter telescope. Currently, there are still hundreds of native Hawaiian protestors at the Mauna, but the news of the fight against the telescope has spread worldwide. 

Students at Mid-Pacifc of Hawaiian ancestry believe that it is their job, their right to protect and spread awareness about the protest, said Spencer. 

At Mid-Pacific, clubs must go through an approval process where a  proposal must pass Activities Director Bill Wheeler, then assistant principal Jennifer Grems and finally, school principal Paul Passamonte. 

“We appreciated their passion and we knew how important this was to them as a topic. It was one of the amazing ways that our students are able to turn their beliefs into actions,” said Jennifer Grems. Administration talked about how the club could not just focus on one event along with being too political.

Student leaders believed their club was approved, but said they felt  annoyed and frustrated when they showed up to Club Day and did not receive a table. 

“We worked really hard on getting everything ready and everything set,” said Javellana. 

Ten minutes before club day started, Javellana said he was told that the club was not approved. 

“Our club was too politically involved and as a school, we are not able to pick sides on political debates,” said Spencer.

“I was mind blown by how many people wanted to support us and the number of people took time out of their lunch just to support what was happening on Mauna Kea,” said Javellana 

“It was so overwhelming as I saw the people coming and chanting and I just cried because people actually wanted this club to happen,” said Spencer as she explains how she felt during the march. 

The three student leaders along with club advisor and Hawaiian language teacher, Makana Kuahiwinui, marched from Scudder to Damon. She said  she saw students jumping up and chanting, “Pro-TMT! Pro-TMT!” “There was a lot of jumping, pushing, and shoving to the point where I was even shoved and pushed by students,” said Kuahiwinui. 

As the marchers entered Damon, they lined up along the walls and sat shoulder to shoulder as they waited for Principal Passamonte’s arrival. The non-leaders told everyone that if they would like, they could return to lunch to finish eating. However, everyone stayed and supported.

“It was a very beautiful and student driven which is one of the things we feel so strongly about at Mid-Pacific, and we want our students to have a voice and have leadership and be at the forefront,” said Grems. 

The original plan for the club was to raise money to donate food, water, and blankets to the protesters and eventually raise money to go up to the Mauna as a club ,but now, the club purpose has broadened to not only the Mauna Kea protest but to also raise awareness for the current issues in Hawaii. 

“To all the students who stand for Mauna Kea, to act in kapu aloha,” said Kuahiwinui.

The club has begun to make posters to post around the school raising awareness.   

If you are interested in the club, contact Makana Kuahiwinui at [email protected]