Rally held at UH Manoa over mural controversy

Published On: Oct 16 2013 02:15:06 PM HST

Some University of Hawaii at Manoa students marched in protest on Tuesday over the painting of part of a mural on campus.

The mural was part of an arts festival, but it included an additional message organizers say was not approved beforehand.

Some say it was a violation of the freedom of speech.  The mural was one of eight created on temporary construction barriers for the Ka Leo Arts Festival.

Click here to watch Paula Akana's report.

The mural showed the beauty of Hawaii, but included a message -- protesting the university's involvement in the telescopes at Mauna Kea.

The painting was finished on Sunday.  On Monday morning, the supporters of those who created the mural found the message painted over.

At the rally, supporters said, "What they never told us in the entire application process is that there is a multi-layer in place to allow for censorship of any political or potentially controversial messaging."

The rally on Tuesday was organized by the pro-independence hui Haumana.  They spray painted a new message over parts of the painted-over areas then marched to the Ka Leo office to present a petition.

"Included in here a copy of the original call-out from Ka Leo which doesn't talk about every little bit has to be approved," said Ilima Long, a master's degree student in Hawaiian Studies.  "There were other things on the mural that were not in the proposal that were not covered up."

Board of Publications chair Rebekah Carroll says they were surprised by the rally.  She called it confusion over what they believe was a very clear-cut application process and that while the Ka Leo newspaper enjoys freedom of speech, that doesn't carry over to the Ka Leo Arts Festival murals.

"While it was being painted we did request that they not put the words on it because they did deviate from the original artwork that had been approved so we asked them to paint over it and they didn't want to," said Carroll.

Rally organizers demanded a public apology by Friday and that the chalkboard area be restored so the public can comment.  If not, they say they will be back.

Our calls to the UH Manoa administration were not returned.


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