Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 959




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Higher Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 959 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds to the University of Hawaii Pamantasan Council to expand its capacity to support educational equity for Filipinos and other populations underrepresented in higher education.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the University of Hawaii Pamantasan Council Executive Committee; Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights; Sariling Gawa Youth Council; Samahang Filipino Club of Hawaii Community College; National Alliance for Knowledge, Empowerment, and Meaning; and sixteen individuals.


Your Committee finds that while there have been significant increases in the representation and success of Filipino students, faculty, and staff within the University of Hawaii System, Filipino Americans continue to be underrepresented as undergraduate students (14.1 per cent) in comparison to the proportion of Filipino American public school students (23.7 per cent) in Hawaii, among which Filipino Americans represent the largest ethnic group. The University of Hawaii Pamantasan Council helps to address this underrepresentation of Filipinos within higher education through curriculum development, programming, and support services.


Your Committee also finds that the University of Hawaii Pamantasan Council does not limit its activities to individuals of Filipino descent. The Council actively supports and engages in outreach to other populations also underrepresented in higher education, such as individuals of Micronesian descent. Despite the Council's wide reach, the Pamantasan Council depends upon volunteers, limiting its capacity to serve the entire University of Hawaii System. To expand the Council's capacity to support educational equity for Filipinos and other underrepresented populations in higher education, this measure appropriates funds for three Academic and Support Services Specialists for the University of Hawaii Pamantasan Council to continue to support the University's goals of equity and inclusion.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Higher Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 959 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Higher Education,