It’s been over a year since I wrote about the efforts of a UH Manoa professor, Susan Schultz, who has been seeking to improve the university administration’s response to deaths on campus. Her concern is that UH ignores them and ignores its responsibility to help students, faculty, and staff deal with these difficult situations.
Then came last week’s fatal moped accident along Dole Street outside the UH Law School and just a stone’s throw from Bachman Hall, the home of the UH President’s office.
The tragedy is alarming for UH students who rely on mopeds as a primary mode of transportation.
Riders we spoke with say mopeds are a convenient and cost-effective way to get around campus, especially since parking is so limited.
When something tragic like this happens, word travels fast.
“I heard about it through a text message. It was a family text. Right after I heard about it, my family was like, ‘Where are you?’” said Elizabeth Lindsey.
“It was pretty heavy. You never want to see stuff like that,” said Thomas Lindsey.
On the afternoon of the accident, UH emailed a notice that Dole Street had been closed to traffic due to an accident. Less than 40 minutes later, another email reported that the street had been opened to traffic again.
But the university had nothing to say about the accident itself.
Very early the next morning, Schultz wrote to David Lassner, who now holds the dual posts of UH President and Manoa Chancellor.
This morning I woke up to a notice of a moped theft. Yesterday, a young man–perhaps a student?–was killed on Dole Street on a moped. There was a notice that the road was closed. I urge UHM to send out a brief note about that sad event, along with information about counseling for anyone who was unfortunate enough to witness the accident. Condolences for the family and friends would also seem to be in order.
At the end of the day, Schultz posted a follow-up on her Facebook page.
As of nearly 5 p.m., I’ve received no response from Chancellor Lassner to my email about yesterday’s moped death on campus. Admin has not uttered a word on the subject.
The next day, Schultz wrote to Randy Moore, a member of the Board of Regents and former chair.
I sometimes see you riding your bicycle up Dole Street next to the Law School. If you did so this morning, you will have seen a memorial to the young man who died on a moped two days ago.
That memorial was made by the young man’s friends. While the story has been covered by the media, UHM has not uttered a syllable about it, except to say that Dole was closed, and then later re-opened. Nothing about how students may have witnessed a fatal accident, nothing to express condolences over the loss of life on our campus.
This is not unusual. In fact, it’s the norm. UHM never says anything about deaths on campus; they leave that to the media and the rumor mill. Students should know that they can find counseling in QLC, if they were traumatized by events like this one. They should know that someone in administration cares enough to send an email.
The morning after the accident, we did get an email telling us that a moped had been stolen at one of the dorms.
Her message was forwarded to the BOR and to the UH administration.
Schultz did receive a short response from current BOR Chair Jan Sullivan, but nothing from the UH administration.
And on Saturday she noted: “Still not a peep from UHM.”
With all the experienced public relations people on the administrative payrolls, the ongoing silence is deafening.