A University of Hawaii Board of Regents meeting was packed with Thirty-Meter Telescope opponents Friday. Their message was loud and clear: Protect Mauna Kea. The meeting was supposed to focus on creating a committee to investigate issues related to the mountain.

"We are bringing the Mauna to the UH. We will challenge at every front. There will be no peace for TMT," Kaleikoa Ka'eo, UH Faculty member against the TMT, said.

This was the first time the public could directly confront the board since the project was set to start building TMT three weeks ago.

"This is not an issue of science and jobs versus native Hawaiian culture or even an issue about the sacredness of Mauna Kea. The issue is violations of the law and rights of native Hawaiians in the name of science and jobs," Tamara Paltin, Maui County Council member representing the West Maui District, said.

She claims the university's lease of Mauna Kea is not valid.

"All we're asking is for them to disprove what he's saying and if they're so sure about what they're doing. Show us some evidence or some facts that the lease they have is valid," Paltin said.

She says UH president David Lassner responded to her concerns in a July letter, affirming the TMT project has all approvals required by law. After four hours of testimony, the board discussed its original agenda item and formed a committee to explore issues of Mauna Kea. Six of the 12 board members will serve on the committee and can decide what and how long to investigate. Whatever conclusions the committee makes will be presented to the full Board for additional debate.