Former politician and alumnus Feki Pouha returns to BYUH to lead Office of Honor

Written by: 
Antoniette Yee
BYUH Honor Code

The new Office of Honor Manager Feki Pouha, a former Hawaii state representative, said it is an honor to give back and serve BYU-Hawaii. “My family felt strong in serving and giving back,” Pouha said. “Those were things I was taught growing up. I felt that I should grab any chance to come back and serve in BYUH, especially after serving in government and learning things in law. I also felt I could be helpful to the university and students as well.”

As an alumnus, Pouha said he is a firm believer of President David O. McKay’s prophecy about BYUH. “This place aims to produce genuine gold men and women who can be instruments to the establishment of peace. I love and support this mission,” Pouha said.

He graduated with a law degree from BYU in Provo and was a state representative of the 47th House District. “I enjoyed my work as a state representative. I was able to apply the things I learned as a law student, and I know I did my best to improve the community.”

Pouha was also student body president at BYUH from 2006-2007. As an undergraduate in Hawaiian Studies program, he worked as part of the first crew to help carve and maintain the Iosepa, a 57-foot traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe now housed at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He also helped to document the first crew members’ oral histories involving the Iosepa, according to www.Hawaii.org.

Pouha said, “One of the reasons why I came to work in BYUH is my family has been here for quite a few generations. My grandparents were labor missionaries at the PCC. My parents met in BYUH. I also met my wife, Kieiki Pouha, here.”

Pouha said he officially became the new Office of Honor manager on April 17, and the main principles he will follow are integrity, character, and honor. “Every day has been very interesting since I started working here. We’re trying to emphasize and help people remember the education here is not only academic, but also a moral component to character development. That’s what sets apart this university from other universities.”

He continued, “My prayer goes to everybody, especially those who are part of this university ohana, to follow the ideals we have committed to.”

Pouha said his role is to remind students to live within the Honor Code’s standards, settle challenges, and make sure the safety of the campus is not compromised. “Everyone makes mistakes. [They are] opportunities to re-evaluate our choices and make sure we’re in the right direction.”

Pouha said the Honor Code can bless lives and be used as a teaching tool to help students develop better characters. “I find the Honor Code to be true as I strive to live it and do my best. I have had many blessings and that’s what people can find too.

 “We also believe in the spiritual aspects as well. If you keep yourself clean, you will receive more blessings, answers to prayers, and you will be able to have a full experience at BYUH that can help you for the rest of your life.”

Dana Templeman, director of the Office of Honor, said she is confident Pouha will be an asset to the office. “Feki has the qualifications, compassion, and a sense of humor. He is very articulate and has a good nature.”

Templeman said their team supports Pouha and will get him ready to manage the Office of Honor. “He’s catching on so quickly and he has already exceeded my expectations.”

She explained how she has worked for the LDS Church for 24 years, and it’s time for her to retire. “I’m so happy to leave the Office of Honor in great hands.”

Mele Lesuma, former manager who is temporarily working at the Office of Honor and is originally from Fiji, said the Honor Code office was changed to Office of Honor to better represent the commitment of students to the school. “We are here to help students fulfill their goals and commitments by reminding them to adhere to the code.”

Lesuma said their team was divinely guided when they were hiring a new manager. “We know that Brother Pouha is the right person to lead this office.”

Lesuma advised students to keep in mind the commitment that comes with studying at BYUH. “If we abide by the standards, we will be successful and happy not only here, but also when we pursue our goals.”

Sister Tanner, a senior missionary at the Office of Honor, said, “Our job is just learning how to serve and help the students and university.”

Pouha explained it could be hard for students to see the benefits of the code because they don’t want to be treated like children. He said the way students view the Honor Code is the problem. “Instead of seeing it as a hindrance, you should look at it as a protection that would help you change your behavior to your benefit.”

When students don’t follow the code, he said, they are missing out on opportunities to learn, grow, and become more than they are now. “See what a great person you can become by following the Honor Code [instead of] seeing what you can get away with,” he counseled. “In the end, you will hurt yourself and miss out opportunities and eventually hurt others if you choose to disobey.”

He said the Office of Honor wants to give people the opportunity to correct themselves as much as possible. “We don’t want to tell you what to do. We don’t want to tell you that you’re wrong. We believe in being responsible and having agency. That may be true as you commit to follow [the Honor Code] and continually recommit yourself.

“Just like brushing your teeth, if you didn’t brush for a long time no one wants to be around you. Same thing with the Honor Code. It is made to protect each other, the university, and to keep our campus a safe place.”

He advised students to go to the BYUH website to report any concerns they may have. “There’s due process for every report we receive, and we need evidence. If there are patterns of misconduct, it should be reported.”

Date Published: 
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

NOTE: This story's online publishing was delayed because it was featured in the June 2017 print issue.