Message from VCSA Jason Cifra on student fees issue

Aloha Kākou,

There has been some discussion of Hawai‘i Community College student fees in the news media in past weeks. I want to share with you pertinent information surrounding the issues, clear up some misinformation, and talk about what’s happening as we work toward resolving questions a few students have raised. We have worked with system’s external affairs to appropriately take action and share information to address the allegations.

As far as we can ascertain, the allegations include mismanagement of funds, claims of issues not being addressed, wrongful removal of student council members, and balances of accounts.  There is no mismanagement or missing funds. All funds have been accounted for and allegations of mismanagement of funds have been reviewed and are unsubstantiated.

The Student Council acting through their bylaws made the determination to remove their fellow council members, not the Administration.

Student engagement and voice are important hallmarks of a student-focused campus. As we have done last year with Student Council, we developed bylaws to enable the Council to operate effectively and responsibly. Similarly, we will be rolling out a new charter this summer and effective for Fall 2014 to manage and fund activities related to multi-media publication, Kau Wa‘a Center, and recreation to utilize the balances in these accounts.

The HawCC Student Council will continue to review and adopt measures that will strengthen their operation to further deliver a robust schedule of activities. We also need a strong Student Council to have a voice on important issues under their purview like advocacy, leadership, planning, and student fees. Serving in these organizations provide great learning opportunities to develop a variety of management, organizational, communication and leadership skills for students.

This has been a trying episode for our Student Council and the former Council members, and HawCC continues to work toward a resolution. Much of what has happened here is the result of growing pains that have taken place as Hawai‘i CC has transitioned to operating its own Chartered Student Organizations (CSOs). Despite these growing pains, we are very optimistic, because our students, through their tremendous efforts in organizing activities and delivering services, have already proven that our students will benefit more by having their own CSOs. And as the growth continues, these services will grow as well, improving the college experience for the students of Hawai‘i Community College.


Jason Cifra, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


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