AD responds to Rainbow rally leader

UH athletic director Ben Jay sent this email to Rally4Rainbows organizer Stephen Chinen.

Mr. 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  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,

steve chinen


  1. Aaron May 2, 2013 12:44 pm

    Hawaii is the only place on earth with rainbows…

  2. Wilmar May 2, 2013 1:24 pm

    Hawaii is NOT the only place on earth with rainbows. In every mythology and also in the Bible, there are references to rainbows. Rainbows are mentioned in all parts of the world in that locales’ respective cultures.

  3. Ralph May 2, 2013 1:40 pm

    You are 13 years too late, please get over it, let’s move forward and support the UH athletics program with AD Ben Jay at the helm.

  4. Grant May 2, 2013 2:03 pm

    Ben Jay…stick to your guns and do not change your mind. “Warriors” is a great nickname. We all need to get over this and move forward. Glad we finally have a decisive leader leading our athletic department. Do not cave!!! Do not let the negative critics get you down. There are many who fully support what you are doing. Hawaii Athletics needed a leader like you.

  5. innocent observer May 2, 2013 3:24 pm

    There are different types of warriors – the american indian kind, the hawaiian kind, etc. Warriors – what does it represent – the hawaiian warrior? if so, is that not racial, are the native hawaiian war mongers? i thought they were a peace loving people, filled with aloha, etc. it is a slap in the face to the hawaiians to characterized them as warriors – when they believe they are not. then, we should not have a nickname as warriors for UH, it would be similar to Indians and redskins on the mainland – a racial overtone. rainbows is perfect since it represents the ever present raindows in manoa valley and the diversity of the students and atheletes at UH. why should we care what others may thinks what rainbows mean – it is not our meaning, ours is special and indigenous to hawaii.

  6. hon2255 May 2, 2013 3:49 pm

    Chinen, move on with the times, things change, change in this case is good, Ben Jay,thank you for making the decision, this will be one of many changes that need to be made, you’re doing an excellent job Ben. Mahalo

  7. kris May 2, 2013 4:28 pm

    IMO there has already been too much energy expended on this, 13 years too late.

    Some things that I have asked that no one has ever been willing to answer.

    1. Why did you wait so long? The die was cast 13 years ago and you wait till now?

    2. You want surveys and public meetings? Who pays for the printing, postage, tabulating votes, meeting room rentals and other misc costs?

    3. Regardless of how this whole thing turns out. I hope everyone who has proclaimed themselves as “passionate” fans, turns out IN PERSON to support the student-athletes who play for our state university regardless of what nickname is used.

  8. hossana May 2, 2013 6:01 pm

    I concur with the comments by hon2255. Chinen needs to move on as he is too little and too late in his desire to make a name change to Rainbow Warriors. I am very impressed with the AD for having the backbone for finally making a decision and moving on. Unfortunately, there will always be people disenchanted or dissatisfied with the AD’s decision but that is life. Cheers!

  9. Old School Dave May 2, 2013 10:37 pm

    Mr. Chinen seems to have a “victim mentality” that permeates throughout his email. Bottom line is that there is no reasoning with people like this. Why not donate some light bulbs, if Chinen really wants to help the program. Chinen, Mark Takai, and the UH Letterman are 13 years too late on this one. So what are they going to do if Ben Jay sticks to his guns; stop supporting the program? Good riddance, I say. It’s the same type of mentality that holds back the UH athletic department from moving forward.

  10. Bob Lundy May 3, 2013 2:49 am

    As a former “Rainbow” in the early Sixties , I am in complete agreement with the AD! Move on everybody. June Jones settled this long ago.

  11. Rick White May 4, 2013 7:29 am

    I appreciate real RAINBOW Warrior supporters and avid organizers such as Steve Chinen. Steve is also in my humble opinion a real American Hero since he was a vet fighting for us in Iraq so that carries a lot more weight. As a former UH Football Rainbow Warrior and Letterwinner Club member I think the disrespect shown Steve and our organization by Mr. Jay and the administration is not to be ignored. This is just the start of a divided Rainbow Warrior nation. We’ll see you at mainland games, support HAWAII and turn our backs on the AD if he’s at any of our events. We look forward sometime in the future with working with the next AD and new administration who has vision.

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