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UHM Commission on Racism & Bias

The UH Mānoa Commission on Racism and Bias is charged with examining how we have responded to racism and bias at UH Mānoa and proposing ways to move forward together. The commission approaches these issues in an honest, open, and rigorous manner, drawing from multiple perspectives, while leveraging existing resources and ongoing campus-wide initiatives. Provost Bruno established the commission in spring 2020 through a nomination process that was open to the campus community. The resulting commission is composed of a cross-section of UH Mānoa faculty, staff, students, and administrators with a demonstrated passion for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. (View the list of commission members.)

Current Commission Activities

Education Subcommittee

Charge: Working with units and initiatives across campus, plan events, workshops, and activities to engage and educate the campus community on issues related to racism and bias.

Subcommittee Chairs: Daphne Desser, Associate Professor of English; Bruce Watson, Lecturer, Philosophy

Current Projects: The Education Subcommittee is preparing a campus-wide book/film/podcast club to engage faculty, staff and students; a reading list/syllabus to encourage independent study and self-reflection; and a list of online training opportunities for professional development.

Listening Subcommittee

Charge: Design and advise strategies for and with units across the campus to hold conversations around racism and anti-racism, bias, and the climate on the campus. Strategies may take the form of town halls, small group meetings, surveys, etc.

Subcommittee Chairs: Punihei Lipe, Director of the Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office; Makanalani Gomes, Master’s Student, Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge

Current Projects: The Listening Subcommittee will join the good work happening in the Truth & Racial Healing Transformation (TRHT) initiative, specifically work related to Racial Healing circles and climate surveys to extend the reach of TRHT efforts across campus.

Policy Subcommittee

Charge: Review policies designed to address discrimination, diversity, and inclusion at UH and peer institutions. Recommend new or revisions to policies and procedures to better support students, staff, and faculty at UH Mānoa.

Subcommittee Chair: Charlene Bumanglag, Assistant Professor of Tropical Medicine, JABSOM

Current Projects:The Policy Subcommittee reviewed existing UH and UHM policies related to discrimination, EEO/AA and UHM procedures and provided substantive recommendations to update policies to be more effective. The provost shared these recommendations with the Vice President for Legal Affairs/University General Counsel and the Director and Title IX Coordinator/Interim Director of EEO/AA. UH policy revisions are underway that incorporate these recommendations and address other issues to bring clarity and to reflect changes in state and federal laws.

Research Subcommittee

Charge: Review reports commissioned by the University to address diversity, racism, bias, and support for underrepresented groups. Identify recommendations that continue to be relevant today.

Subcommittee Chair: Helen Wong-Smith, Archivist for University Records

Current Projects: The Research Committee is developing an online collection that documents UH Mānoa’s history with issues of diversity and inclusion, including reports from governance groups, committees and task forces; historic data; meeting minutes and administrative decisions; news items; and scholarly articles. The provost plans to make this database available to faculty, staff, and students for information, research, and to inform decisions related to diversity and inclusion.


To contact the Commission, please email equality@hawaii.edu

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