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Hawaii Lawmaker Calls for University of Hawaii Consolidation of Administration

Representative Kaniela Ing, a member of the House Higher Education Committee, responded to University of Hawaii President David Lassner’s decision to end the search for a Chancellor of the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus with a call to consolidate the administrative offices.

Rep. Kaniela Ing

Ing stated that regardless of what Lassner intended, his decision to cease the search for a new chancellor raises some important questions on the efficiency and redundancy in the University of Hawaii’s administration.

“If the president or his administration can provide the services assigned to the chancellor, and the university can still function, why does the chancellor’s office even exist in its enormous capacity? This points to a probable waste of taxpayer and student tuition dollars,” Ing said.

Ing noted a stark change between his time as the Student-President of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH) in 2009 and his experience as a legislator today.

“I always felt that the University of Hawaii administration was top-heavy,” Ing said. “When cuts were needed, students and faculty suffer through tuition raises and slashed salaries, while the administration remained bloated. President Lassner’s leadership, through his dual-capacity as Chancellor, has resulted in much greater efficiency.”

Ing is currently writing a House Concurrent Resolution calling for a study to explore the cost savings and other benefits of consolidating the chancellor and president’s offices. Ing claims that this is how the UH administration was structured for most of its existence.

“Tuition and taxes keep rising, making it harder for everyday people to get by. I just want to make sure that working folk’s hard earned dollars are ending up where it counts, and not being wasted in redundant, wasteful, administrative expenses,” he said.

“The last full-time chancellor made nearly $439,000 dollars a year before benefits. Imagine how many students that money could help?”

Statement From University of Hawaii President David Lassner

As a matter of policy and in accordance with Hawaii public records law, university personnel matters are confidential and we abide by that commitment to confidentiality out of respect for our employees. Experience teaches that personnel issues are best addressed in private, and when a change in leadership is necessary, it is best accomplished with as much dignity as the circumstances permit.

David Lassner

David Lassner

It is my job as President to hold the executives who report to me accountable for their performance and the effectiveness of their leadership. At UH, this is a holistic process that spans the full range of the executive’s duties and responsibilities, not a reaction to specific incidents. I have maintained confidentiality both to provide the chancellor the privacy and dignity that any of us would want for ourselves in a difficult personnel situation, as well as to attempt to avoid disruption to the university’s critical work of teaching, learning, scholarship and service.

Unfortunately, many statements are circulating and the privacy I had hoped for has been compromised with a mix of truths and rumors from many sources. I regret that my attempt at maintaining privacy and dignity has been perceived by some as lacking transparency and accountability. And I am truly sorry this has become a public spectacle.

UH Manoa is Hawaii’s only research university and the flagship campus of our UH System. I am committed to fully supporting our UH Manoa students, who work every day to develop the knowledge and skills for success in their careers and as contributing citizens in our communities. I am committed to supporting our superb UH Manoa faculty members, who teach and mentor students every day and engage in scholarship to advance human knowledge and address the challenges and opportunities facing our communities. And I am committed to supporting our hardworking UH Manoa staff and administrators who every day balance the complexity of multiple missions and expectations from internal communities and external stakeholders.

At this time we all need to focus on polishing our crown jewel in the new financial environment faced by UH and public higher education across the country. The financial conditions that have developed at UH Manoa over the past two years must be addressed with thoughtful leadership and deep collaboration. I am committed to embracing this broader challenge with effective campus leadership in a considered, open and collegial manner with the faculty, students, and staff of the UH Manoa campus and our stakeholders across the State of Hawaii.

Finalists for UH President Announced

The Board of Regents announced two finalists for the UH System president position—UH Interim President David Lassner and Retired Lt. General Francis Wiercinski.

From left, David Lassner and Francis Wiercinski

From left, David Lassner and Francis Wiercinski

Board of Regents Chair John C. Holzman says students and faculty will get to hear from the candidates and provide feedback before the end of the academic year.

Video of announcement and news conference to come.

Video: Broadband High Speed Internet Discussion in the State of Hawaii

broadband

Rep. Gene Ward talks with Larry Reifurth the Director of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Chief Information Officer of University of Hawaii David Lassner about “Broadband” high speed internet access in Hawaii.

Pt. 1:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0CZLRgib9s&hl=en&fs=1&]

Pt. 2:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uap6JUX78Sc&hl=en&fs=1&]