The UC Board of Regents is meeting and TMT is on the agenda
Deadline to submit an email for the upcoming meeting is MONDAY JULY 27 1pm PT / 10am HT
Sample Email to UC Board of Regents
Copy/Paste and send this email to the regents with the subject line below
Have more time? Personalize the email and include a PICTURE in support of the protection of Mauna Kea!
*Subject line must identify the "specific agenda item being addressed; failure to do so could prevent delivery of your comments" *
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Subject Line: UC BOR July 30 agenda item B2 - Divest from TMT
TEMPLATE FOR Email to UC Board of Regents COPY AND PASTE
reminder to add your first and last name at the end of the email
Dear UC Board of Regents and President Drake,
I am writing to address agenda item B2 regarding the “Thirty-Meter Telescope Update” that has finally been put on agenda for discussion. I care deeply about this issue. The UC is currently using UC student money to finance a construction project on the pristine northern plateau of Mauna Kea where this telescope will not only cover 5 acres of conservation land for endemic species found nowhere else on earth, but will also desecrate lands that are sacred to Native Hawaiians. I demand that the UC Board of Regents immediately vote to divest from the TMT Project following the complete board discussion on July 30th.
I am writing to call on the UC Regents and President Drake to champion Indigenous rights by ending the UC’s involvement in the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna a Wākea, immediately.
According to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racism (“UNCERD”), without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people of Hawai‘i, the UC is complicit in international human rights violations. This was brought to President Napolitano and the UC regents’ attention on January 22, 2020. That said, I am disheartened to see the discussion memo from the UC Office of the President to the discussion item meant to brief the UC regents minimize this issue as simply “a rallying symbol for many of the historical and current injustices that affect Native Hawaiians [that is] unrelated to these real and serious issues.” This statement is completely disconnected from the severity of harm that has mobilized hundreds of thousands, including UC students and broader community, in strong opposition to TMT - a project that relates directly to the very serious issues of international human rights violations, institutional racism, along with state violence and police brutality against Indigenous people.
The next UC President MUST do better. In this moment of global change and awakening, the UC must divest from systemic racism and participate in the dismantling of white supremacy that keeps Black, Indigenous, and marginalized people in a position of disadvantage. The funding of the TMT directly violates your own Standards of Ethical Conduct by disregarding the UC’s commitment to “respect the rights and dignity of others,” proceeding in the name of expediency and achieving a “higher” purpose, while clearly restricting freedom of religion as outlined by the UNCERD. Furthermore, as a land-grant university, the UC has a responsibility to serve native students, whose voices you ignore.
Despite claims of transparency, the University of California has spent more than $68 million on the TMT Project since 2016, half of which are the UC’s own funds. As recently as February 2020, $10 million were contributed towards this telescope. Even in the midst of workers fighting for fair contracts, UC grad students demanding a liveable COLA (80 of whom were fired by the university in March), and preparations for major COVID-19 financial losses, the UC remains invested in this project that has no guarantee of ever seeing completion before the master lease expires in 2033.
When this discussion is held, it must genuinely represent the true impacts of the project, including the human rights violations outlined by the United Nations, and the full spectrum of opposition to TMT, which includes astronomers who care about respecting the rights and dignity of others. The discussion must also include the voices of Native Hawaiian protectors and UC student representatives who have been leading a system-wide movement to oppose this project that cannot break ground without cultural genocide and violence against the Native Hawaiian people, protectors, and elders who have physically blocked construction for over a year.
Most urgently, I demand that the UC President immediately send a letter to Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige, stating that UC, as a major partner of TMT, does not endorse any use of force against Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) on Mauna Kea, as it is in the process of discussing the matter internally.
[First name last name]