John Dean and Saedene Ota of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents recently resigned in response to a bill approved by the legislature requiring public financial disclosures from people serving on state boards and commissions.
UH President David Lassner issued the following statement:
“The University of Hawaiʻi is deeply thankful for the volunteer service of Regents John Dean and Saedene Ota, two of Hawaiʻi’s finest businesspeople and community leaders.
“We understand the concerns that caused them to resign and we regret the loss of their experience and wisdom on the Board of Regents. Both Saedene and John have made it clear that their decisions in no way diminish their passion for the university and they are both willing to help advance public higher education in Hawaiʻi in other ways. For that, we are most appreciative and we look forward to their continuing support.”
Saedene Ota also released a statement:
“Regents and other appointed board and commission members are not candidates for public office nor are we paid for our service. We do this out of a desire to make a contribution to our community.
“When we are under consideration for appointment, we are vetted by the governor’s office, our backgrounds are checked and we complete Ethics Commission disclosure forms. This should be sufficient oversight.
“Having our families’ home addresses, assets and business interests publicly displayed seems too high a price to pay in terms of the loss of privacy and potential exposure of information most people consider private… especially as we are volunteers.”
The University of Hawaiʻi System thanks Regents Dean and Ota for their exceptional service to the university family and the people of Hawaiʻi, and wishes them the best.