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Student Media needs a fee increase: Support student voices

  • 2 min to read

The value of student media programs in college range far from just providing job opportunities. Student Media at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in particular, serves as a voice for the campus and surrounding community. 

This fall, the four student media programs at UH Mānoa are applying to become “leaner and meaner” by restructuring and increasing the current student media fee. 

The current plan calls to officially merge the programs under a single chartered student organization, the Student Media Board, and increase the current fee from $16 to $38 over two years. The fee proposal provides desperately needed funding and allows student media programs to consolidate operations and oversight. 

A survey to gauge overall interest in student media and support for the fee increase proposal can be found at

In 1983, the Board of Regents established a $13 fee for the Board of Publications, the chartered student organization governing Ka Leo O Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Review. In 1987, a similar $3 fee was established for the Broadcast Communication Authority, the chartered student organization governing KTUH and UH Productions. Despite drastic shifts in program structure, program costs and the media needs of UH students, these fees have not changed since the fall of 1988. 

1988 was a pivotal time in music and history. George Michael’s “Faith” started the year on top of the Billboard Hot 100 and Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” closed the year in top position. The Iron Curtain was beginning to disintegrate as Warsaw Pact countries started to allow freer travel from the west. Full-time tuition at UH Manoa was $1,090 and a gallon of regular, unleaded gas was $1.08. Some things cost less in 2019: a Macintosh IIx started at $7,769 unless the user opted to include an à la carte 40MB hard disc for an additional $1,600. 

In today’s currency, a Macintosh IIx would cost over $20,000.

In 1988, Ka Leo O Hawaiʻi, the biweekly campus newspaper, was printed daily. Program cuts made to operate with the same budget since 1988 are not limited to printing; decreased personnel, deferred equipment repair, absence from professional conferences, and the merging of the Board of Publications and Broadcast Communication Authority have also resulted from program cuts. 

The student media programs serve as platforms for student voices and allow students to engage with the community. Students may reach out to any of the four programs if they have story ideas and events they want to see covered. For example, Ka Leo and UH Productions cover every UH football home game by producing a video and article recap online. If a student wrote an original piece or poem, they can submit it to Hawaiʻi Review for potential publication in its literary journal. Students who are interested in podcasts can pitch KTUH ideas. 

Student Media also has an award-winning Mānoa Now app, an essential for UH Mānoa students. The app features essentials that may come in handy for a student: the ability to track the locations and pick-up times of TheBus and Rainbow Shuttle, a campus event calendar, job opportunities and UH ID deals. For those on the go, you can also read Ka Leo, listen to KTUH and watch UH Productions videos.

These organizations are the one place that guarantees a venue for students, faculty, administrators and the greater Mānoa community to communicate not only to the campus but to the community as well. Any student can join the media programs; all majors and class standings are welcome. A diverse team supports each program; business majors are able to work on budgets and management, while computer science majors are able to work on systems operations and the website. Students can also take on roles that do not necessarily match their major. 

These programs are opportunities to learn leadership and professionalism with guidance from advisers and professionals in each field. Students are given the responsibility to solve complex problems, similar to what they will encounter in their careers, in an environment designed to enable growth.