President’s letter to the UH ohana

August 21, 2012  |   |  4 Comments
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Dear University ʻOhana,

It’s the start of a new school year and we have much to celebrate with the opening of the new UH West Oʻahu campus and other successful programs to advance our system of public higher education.

The last few weeks, however, have cast a cloud over our accomplishments and we’ve been unable to publicly refute much of the inaccuracies due to employee confidentiality and other concerns. This Wednesday, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents will have a full and complete discussion of the facts leading to the cancelled Athletics benefit concert, examination of the university’s subsequent actions, and our recommendations for moving forward. We have tried to follow, and I hope you agree that we have followed, a thoughtful and transparent process first with our Regents and then with the general public. I will be available after the meeting to answer questions and respond to concerns, and we ask for your understanding so that these matters can be handled with the appropriate attention, gravity and consideration.

Let me recap a few key facts:

  1. Stevie Wonder Concert: We believe we were scammed. When we became aware that we may have been the victims of a fraud, we immediately reported it to law enforcement and fully cooperated with law enforcement. We also initiated our own internal investigation. The results will be presented to the Board of Regents this Wednesday. In order for the investigation to proceed freely and fully, employees closely connected with the planned concert were removed from the workplace and placed on paid leave. Because we felt it unfair to make statements before facts were available, we have declined to engage in the widespread speculation about blame and accountability.
  2. UH Athletics Department: At the same time, and almost coincidentally, UH Mānoa administration had determined that after 4½ years of a 5-year agreement, it was time to search for a new Director of Athletics. Plans for the process and timetable for this action would have commenced regardless of the concert cancellation and ensuing investigation. The discussions regarding this personnel decision were in the early stages and not yet public, but the attention of campus leadership had already turned to the recruitment process.

Unfortunately, these two separate issues collided and became entangled in the public’s perceptions. Personnel actions related to the future of the Athletic Department are not a result of nor derived from the investigation over the concert, and the two events should not have become so connected in the way that they have.

Please know we are deeply grateful for your concerns expressed over the last two weeks. We value your trust and pledge to continue to be transparent and open as we move forward as a university community and ʻohana.

I look forward to reporting back to you after the Regents meeting, and I thank you, as always, for the privilege of serving you, our students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and the people of Hawaiʻi.

Aloha,
M.R.C. Greenwood
President
University of Hawaiʻi System

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Category: Faculty/Staff, Governance

Comments (4)

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  1. Jennifer Killinger says:

    I, for one, am tired of all the MONEY emphasis on athletics. How about helping out by upgrading the Science Department computers? Or here’s a novel idea… Revamp the Math Department.

    p.s. I don’t believe anything you say about this debacle. You’ll do and say whatever you have to to take more of our money.

    • luke morrison says:

      It would seem saner to invest in our math and science departments, and it is. But it just doesn’t bring the same kind of PR that sports does. It’s really asinine that colleges are turning into businesses like this, but only the monetarily strong will survive.

  2. Jennifer Killinger says:

    And now I found this article: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/167235245.html?id=167235245

    Now, I’m hanging my head in my hands. Thanks UH.

  3. Laure W. says:

    Im tired of the waste. They need to channel all that wasted money to help students who live in central and west Oahu, who degree programs are only at UH Manoa, get a darn place to park! We all know how much more study time we waste by taking the bus in the daily worsening traffic jam!! Also they could hire more core course instructors for math and science. 15 to grad on time is a wasted commercial it’s not all the students fault they can’t graduate on time. When classes aren’t available students can’t sign up, or change a class to a better one when they realize on the first day that they would not do well in that level of a class.

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