By Dave Reardon
UH athletic director Ben Jay sent this email to Rally4Rainbows organizer Stephen Chinen.
Mahalo for your e-mail.
As my assistant Jeannie Lee previously informed you, I am currently attending meetings on the mainland and will not be available for the rally. However, I'm glad we were able to meet in order to share views and opinions.
When the decision was made in 2000 to change the nickname of the football, men's volleyball, golf, and tennis teams to Warriors, I'm sure there were individuals that were against the decision because of their strong affinity for Rainbows.
Now, 13 years later, the Warrior nickname has been embraced by many and I am not aware of any past organized campaigns to change the nicknames of these four men's teams back to either Rainbow Warriors or Rainbows.
After arriving at UH, it soon became clear that a decision had to be made to unite the remaining three men's teams (men's basketball, baseball, and swimming & diving) with the other four under a common nickname in order to end a branding situation that has caused confusion both locally and nationally and hampered marketing, licensing, and merchandising initiatives.
Based on numerous conversations with UH fans, I did not hear a consensus on what the men's nickname should be but individuals were clearly in agreement that a decision had to be made and was long overdue. One of the key factors in the decision was that Warriors is the nickname of the majority of our men's teams, including the one with the largest fan following (football).
We are changing the nickname of three of our seven men's programs and not "all" of them. As I mentioned, four have been Warriors since 2000. In essence, we are not "making" a decision to adopt the Warrior nickname for our men's sports, we are basically "finishing" the decision made 13 years ago, so that our brand identity is clear and unified.
Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and we appreciate the feedback and passion that has been expressed. We've also received feedback from many who are in support of the Warriors and Rainbow Wahine nicknames. We know we will not be able to please everyone but we are moving forward.
Please understand that we are not removing Rainbow entirely, since our women's team's will remain Rainbow Wahine and the "Let's Go Bows" cheer will always be a part of the cheerleaders and fans' repertoire. Also, there are plans to continue to honor the Rainbow tradition, including a "Retro Night" during the upcoming football season and a line of retro merchandise that is currently being sold. Other initiatives will also be planned.
Mahalo for your support of our men's and women's student-athletes and I hope to see you at many UH sporting events.
Here is the email from Chinen:
Dear Mr. Ben Jay, Mr. Tom Apple, Ms. M.R.C. Greenwood, Mr. Eric Martinson, Mr. Carl Carlson Jr., Mr. James Lee, Mr. Jeffrey Acido, Mr. Artemio Baxa, Mr. John Dean, Mr. Chuck Gee, Mr. John Holzman, Mr. Benjamin Kudo, Ms. Coralie Matayoshi, Mr. Barry Mizuno, Ms. Saedene Ota, Mr. Tom Shigemoto, Ms. Jan Sullivan and Mr. Vince Baldemor:
On April 7, I sent an email to Mr. Jay inviting him to attend the May 3rd rally (please see email below). I sent similar emails to the rest of you and, with the exception of Mr. Baldemor (thank you!), NO ONE took the time to extend to me the common courtesy of a reply. Although I did not ask Mr. Jay to respond by April 29, that is the date I asked the rest of you to reply by.
To Mr. Jay, Mr. Apple, and Ms. Greenwood, why do you treat local people like me this way? Yes, I know you are very busy. I also know you are paid very handsomely to compensate for your long hours, including the time and effort it would have taken to respond to me. I have not disrespected you ... yes, I have been firm in my opinion because of my passion for the Rainbows name, but I have not disrespected you. Why, then, do you not grant me the courtesy of a reply? Why do you disrespect local people like myself and think we are not as good as you?
To the Board of Regents, you are local people, why have you not responded? I am aware that you serve without compensation, except for a healthy (I hope) stipend, so does that mean you only check your email when you are officially in an "on duty" capacity? My email to you was sent on April 7, as well. Assuming this is the case, please "catch up" and go to my website at
www.RainbowsInMe.com and please at least read the home page and the FAQ page.
Also, please contemplate the following three questions:
1. We ALWAYS hear about students being the MOST IMPORTANT part of the University. So why weren't they surveyed about their name preference? One ASUH Senator told me Mr. Jay assured him/her that he would do such a survey, but no, he didn't do this.
2. We often hear about alumni being a very important part of the University community. So why weren't we surveyed?
3. I received an email not too long ago from Ahahui Koa Anuenue, saying we members are -- here we go again -- the MOST important part of the organization. So why weren't we surveyed?
Lastly, one more thought: Appearing in the heading of the University System website, and thus the very first thing one reads is, "The University of Hawai'i System -- Like No Place Else On Earth." Ironic, isn't it, that Mr. Jay seeks to abolish "Rainbows" from the men's teams, a name and symbol that substantially contributes to making Hawaii Nei like no place else on earth.
Furthermore, our "local lifestyle" aka "local culture," "rainbow culture," "melting pot culture," and "salad bowl culture" promotes respect and harmony among its people. Why does Mr. Jay, Mr. Apple, and Ms. Greenwood -- and perhaps, members of the Board of Regents -- disrespect local people like myself and think we are not as good as them?
Respectfully and with aloha,