Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Conversation: UH System to Require Vaccine; Jehovah’s Witnesses on Resuming Missions

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

University of Hawaii system to require COVID-19 vaccine for students; City Councilmember on Honolulu rail; Reality Check with Civil Beat; New York Times national editor shares new immigration book; Jehovah's Witnesses on resuming missions amid the pandemic

University of Hawaii system to require COVID-19 vaccine for students | Full Article

University of Hawaii
Credit University of Hawaii

The University of Hawaii announced it will require students to be vaccinated if they want to attend in-person classes and participate in on-campus activities this fall. The requirement hangs on the FDA's full approval of one of the three vaccines currently offered to adults and teens. We talked to UH President David Lassner to learn more. 

President of the University of Hawai‘i
David Lassner

City Councilmember Brandon Elefante wants the Honolulu rail to reach Ala Moana | Special Series

Credit Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit

In our series about the $12 billion Honolulu rail project, we heard from Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi about her request to pause the project at Middle Street and re-examine all the options. On Tuesday, we spoke to Councilmember Brandon Elefante, vice chair of the council’s transportation committee, who favors completing the rail to Ala Moana as planned. 

Brandon Elefante
Brandon Elefante, Honolulu City Councilmember

Reality Check with Civil Beat: Erosion at Kahana Bay on Maui | Full Article

Honolulu Civil Beat’s reality check Tuesday looked at the severe erosion problem on Maui’s west coast. "The ocean has destroyed condominium pool decks, cabanas, stairs and walkways. Seawalls installed to protect the shoreline have only worsened the problem," reporter Britanny Lyte wrote.

Reality Check for May 18, 2021
Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Brittany Lyte

New York Times national editor shares her literary deep dive into America's immigration | Event Link

Credit Lorin Klaris/Zocalo Public Square

It was curiosity about her family’s immigration story that sent a woman on a journey to determine who she should thank. Jia Lynn Yang’s research into our country’s immigration laws prompted her to write a book titled "One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924 to 1965." It just won a Zócalo Book Prize and will be featured later this week in a virtual event. We got a chance to talk with her about the book and, in the process, learned of a local connection. 

Jia Lynn Yang
Jia Lynn Yang, author and New York Times national editor

Jehovah's Witnesses on resuming missions amid the pandemic

The pandemic caused the Jehovah's Witnesses to adapt their missionary efforts. But with an increase in vaccinations and travel to and from Hawaii on the rise, we wanted to know if they planned to resume outreach in the Aloha State and beyond. The Conversation’s Russell Subiono talked to Robert Hendriks, a national spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to find out.

Robert Hendriks
Robert Hendriks, national spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses


If you have any comments or feedback, let us know by calling the Talkback Line at (808) 792-8217, or recording a voice memo on your smartphone and sending it to

Catherine Cruz is the Host of The Conversation and a member of HPR’s news team. She has been a television reporter in Hawai‘i since 1983 and has won a number of awards and respect from a statewide audience. She spent more than thirty years at KITV, covering beats from government to education and health. Originally from Guam, Cruz is also a co-founder and former Board member and programming chair of Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Catherine is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Russell Subiono has been with Hawai‘i Public Radio since 2019. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, TV, and radio. He got his start at HPR as a Production Assistant on The Conversation from 2016-2017. Prior to his return, he spent two years as a producer at KITV4 Island News, where he oversaw Hawai‘i’s only hour-long evening broadcast. He also served as HPR’s Fund Drive Producer for two years before returning to The Conversation as Executive Producer. In the moments when he’s not working at the station, you can find him visiting donut shops, making top-5 lists, and developing comedy videos that never get made.
More Episodes