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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 9, 2005

Alumni offer sounding board

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer


'Olelo A'o Kamehameha wants to gather community input on how the Kamehameha Schools should proceed since a federal appeals court struck down its admissions policy. Call organization chairman Kekoa McClellan at 393-7937 or go to http://oleloaokamehameha.blogspot.com.


A new group is seeking to establish itself as a clearinghouse for ideas on how the Kamehameha Schools can move forward in the wake of a federal court decision against its Hawaiians-first admissions policy.

Kekoa McClellan, chairman of the board for 'Olelo A'o Kamehameha, said the group was formed because "we believe there is a gap between the school, the administration, its officers and trustees, and the general needs of the local Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians in the community."

While its organizers are Kamehameha alumni, the group wants input from graduates and non-graduates, as well as both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, said McClellan, a 2002 Kamehameha alumnus and a Hawai'i Pacific University graduate.

McClellan said the group is particularly interested in hearing the views of those who oppose the existing admissions policy.

"We want to know why they think that way," he said. "We're not trying to advocate for one side or another; we're trying to get the community's thoughts."

The ideas will be gathered and delivered to the schools' trustees.

"We want to do what's good for Hawaiians and Hawai'i," he said. "There can be a connection between what's good for Hawaiians and what's good for Hawai'i."

Ann Botticelli, Kamehameha spokeswoman, said school trustees are aware that the decision in the John Doe v. Kamehameha case has generated immense discussion in the general community.

The school supports 'Olelo A'o's efforts to gather those ideas in an organized fashion. "That kind of input is always welcome," she said. The group has even been allowed to hold several of its meetings on Kamehameha property.

The school is contesting the decision in the John Doe v. Kamehameha case. John Doe is the fictitious name of a child who said he was denied admission to the school because he is non-Hawaiian. By a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the admissions policy violates civil rights.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com.