Resolution Censuring the Mānoa Provost Over Failure to Conduct Meaningful Faculty Consultation in the Reorganization Process


Presented to the Mānoa Faculty Senate by the Committee on Administration & Budget (CAB) for a vote of the full Senate on October 21, 2020, a resolution censuring the Mānoa Provost over failure to conduct meaningful faculty consultation in the reorganization process.  Due to time constraints, this resolution was tabled until the next senate meeting on November 18, 2020.  Approved by Mānoa Faculty Senate on November 18, 2020 with 37 votes (64.91%) in support; 20 votes (35.09%) opposed; and 6 abstentions.


WHEREAS, the Mānoa Faculty Senate (MFS) and its constituents acknowledge that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) must adapt, address immediate financial deficits, and evolve, and the MFS desires to be an active participant in finding new and creative solutions; and

WHEREAS, faculty are fundamental to UHM, and must, by Hawai‘i law and principles of shared governance, be involved in the very first steps of transforming and revisioning UHM, and faculty bring valuable knowledge, expertise, and skills to the conversation; and

WHEREAS, Chapter §89-1 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes states:

“(a)  The legislature finds that joint decision-making is the modern way of administering government.  Where public employees have been granted the right to share in the decision-making process affecting wages and working conditions, they have become more responsive and better able to exchange ideas and information on operations with their administrators.  Accordingly, government is made more effective;” and,

WHEREAS, the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (HLRB) Decision 394, which deals with the Employer-Union-Employee consultation process, found that the “natural consequences of the State’s failure to engage in meaningful consultation constitutes a prohibited practice,” and HLRB Decision 394 is substantially related to the issues at hand; and

WHEREAS, Executive Policy A3.101 calls for the MFS to review any proposed reorganization; and

WHEREAS, Board of Regents (BOR) Resolution 20-03 states:

“the Administration will consult with faculty, staff, and student organizations in a cooperative and collaborative manner and approach, taking into account the interests of the individuals, groups and entities involved or affected;” and

WHEREAS, the agreement between the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), the MFS, and Administration (2017-2021 UHPA-BOR Contract Section R-20, Part 1) specifies that: “The University will refer the following topics to Senates […]

  1. Initiation, review, and evaluation of proposed, probationary, or established research, instructional and academic programs;” and

WHEREAS, President Lassner and Provost Bruno assembled “a small team that spent countless hours over the summer examining student enrollments, program reviews, etc, across all of the UH Mānoa units;” and

WHEREAS, the members of this “small team […] consisted of President Lassner and myself [Provost Bruno], along with interim [sic] Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance and Operations Sandy French, interim [sic] Vice Chancellor for Research Velma Kameoka, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Laura Lyons, and Senior Advisor to the Provost Wendy Pearson” (italics added, bold in original; referred to initially as “Mānoa Budget Team” and henceforth herein); and

WHEREAS, Provost Bruno did not include faculty in the development of criteria to be used in evaluating potential stop-outs, eliminations, reorganizations, or initiations of academic or non-academic units; and

WHEREAS, the Mānoa Budget Team produced documents for sixteen academic deans, outlining various suggested changes, including possible program reorganizations, stop-outs, or initiations; and

WHEREAS, beginning August 31, 2020, faculty were asked to engage in discussions of reorganization recommendations with no transparency, strategic summary, overall vision, methodology, timeline, or fiscal justification or budgets (as they relate to the fiscal emergency or a long-term vision); and

WHEREAS, on Friday, September 11, 2020, Provost Bruno announced a website titled, “UH Mānoa Planning for Post-Pandemic Hawai‘i;” which contained, and may still contain, undated draft program review suggestions to academic units across UHM, representing the first time many faculty were notified; and

WHEREAS, the Mānoa Budget Team’s recommendations imply that reorganizations are impending, and suggest that dozens of stop-outs, eliminations, or program initiations should occur, ignoring Board of Regents (BOR) Policy 1.210; and

WHEREAS, the Mānoa Budget Team’s recommendations lack consideration of facts and context,  lack understanding of programs, are an incomplete program review, overlook the connection between falling global rankings and a decline in ability to hire faculty, frequently reference dated external or program reviews, and lack a clear rationale or criteria for proposed reorganizations while circumventing the faculty governance processes outlined in the 2017-2021 UHPA-BOR Contract; and

WHEREAS, the unsigned documents embedded within “UH Mānoa Planning for Post-Pandemic Hawai‘i” received, and may continue to receive, undated and unspecified updates, making it difficult for faculty to assess the development of such recommendations and the rationales behind each modification; and

WHEREAS, the absence of clear, operationalized criteria and a replicable method as to how those criteria were used to arrive at the suggested program changes hinders the faculty’s ability to evaluate the proposed recommendations; and

WHEREAS, now that the Mānoa Budget Team has shared prospective changes, without faculty consultation or input, they have unilaterally created the framework for all future discussions as it relates to transforming and revisioning the University; and

WHEREAS, meaningful faculty consultation cannot occur if Provost Bruno identifies or implements prospective changes and seeks faculty input after-the-fact, often continuing forward despite legitimate faculty concerns; and

WHEREAS, some of the recommendations brought forth by the Mānoa Budget Team for academic units may have merit and could lead to developing a stronger, more prestigious UHM; and

WHEREAS, it remains to be seen if Provost Bruno or President Lassner will bring forth similar recommendations regarding non-academic units (such as student support services, university libraries, ORUs, athletics, vice chancellors’ and deans’ offices among others) and whether meaningful consultation will occur in the creation of criteria and the evaluation of such recommendations; and

WHEREAS, Provost Bruno’s actions circumvent meaningful faculty shared governance and consultation to the detriment of scholarship, students, and the greater UH community (including taxpayers of Hawai‘i), despite the MFS repeatedly raising this concern; and

WHEREAS, Provost Bruno has knowingly allowed, and participated within, a practice and culture of non-compliance with shared faculty-governance; and

WHEREAS, while Provost Bruno did not engage in the faculty consultation process in a timely manner as outlined in the aforementioned policies, contracts, agreements, and laws; it is evident that Provost Bruno has attempted to engage with faculty regarding reorganizations after-the-fact, and has made some changes in response to faculty feedback in these instances; however, Provost Bruno’s changes did not meet faculty’s analysis of what was necessary.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mānoa Faculty Senate censures Provost Bruno of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Mānoa Faculty Senate, and principles of shared faculty governance, requires that Provost Bruno and President Lassner share all relevant data necessary (including the replicable method used to make conclusions for suggested program changes and, especially, fiscal justification in light of the ongoing fiscal crisis) for the identification, evaluation, and recommendation of potential reorganizations.