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University of Hawaii considers new Mauna Kea management

Also considered was the shifting of authority of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve away from university entirely

HILO (AP) — The University of Hawaii is considering possible new management structures for governing land on Mauna Kea in an effort to improve its stewardship of the state’s highest mountain.

The university’s board of regents met earlier this month and discussed improving the university’s internal management structure, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday.

The board also considered the implications of shifting authority of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve away from the university entirely.

The board passed a resolution last year requiring discussion of a reorganization of mountain management.

The board expects to consider adopting a new internal management structure at its May meeting.

The primary difference in the proposed structure is increased transparency, said Greg Chun, the university’s executive director of Mauna Kea stewardship.

The current management model places two organizations that govern activities on the mountain under the jurisdiction of two separate university campuses.

The Office of Maunakea Management answers to the chancellor of University of Hawaii-Hilo, while Maunakea Support Services answers to the provost of University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Under the restructured plan, both offices would be merged and called the Center for Maunakea Stewardship, which would answer to the Hilo chancellor, Chun said.

“It’s not uncommon that the two different entities march to different beats, because they’re answering to different campuses,” Chun said. He added that the proposal under consideration would make the university’s governance more straightforward.

The board of regents also discussed several broader governance structures the state could implement to improve transparency, each of which would shift the mountain’s master lease away from university control.

None of those ideas were recommended or proposed because implementation is outside the board’s authority, Chun said.

Any proposal that removes the university from management must also consider funding programs such as the rangers who oversee the land, Chun said.