The collective political voice of University of Hawaii faculty, as a part of a world-class teaching and research institution, has become stronger than ever. We realize that with this increased influence comes increased responsibility, and that is why we do not take political endorsements lightly.
Whether it’s a political candidate running for the Hawaii State Legislature or Congress, UHPA takes its candidate endorsement process very seriously. It is not a science; however, we strive to base every endorsement on a methodical, fair process to properly assess candidates and make informed decisions.
UHPA is composed of nearly 4,000 highly independent thinkers at different points along the political spectrum. It is not possible for all of us to reach a consensus on political endorsement nor is it realistic to expect 100% agreement with every candidate we endorse. However, we are confident that our endorsements represent the best interests of faculty.
There are multiple steps in UHPA’s endorsement process.
First, the Political Endorsement Committee, composed of faculty representing different campuses, develops a list of topics of concern to discuss with candidates.
It is not feasible to cover the full gamut of issues with every candidate. Instead, UHPA hones in on topics that relate specifically to funding for public higher education, the role of faculty, and support for students. Other issues may focus on the quality of life for faculty because the ability to attract and retain faculty directly impacts the quality of education. The topics may change depending on whether it is a state or federal seat.
The interviews provide a way to assess a candidate’s understanding of issues important to faculty, and allow interaction between faculty and the candidates. In addition to their positions on policies and proposed solutions relating to higher education, a candidate’s leadership style, willingness to collaborate with faculty, and other intangible qualities are also factored into endorsement decisions.
After meeting with candidates, the Political Endorsement Committee makes its recommendations to the UHPA Board of Directors. Finally, the Board then votes on the endorsements.