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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

It’s All Part Of The Game

If you keep up with University of Hawaii Manoa politics, then you know that not too long ago Virginia Hinshaw said she would step down as chancellor and take a paid 10-month sabbatical, then return to take another high-paying job with tenure at John A. Burns School of Medicine.

The university community was shocked. Hinshaw declined to comment, as did UH Board of Regents chairman Eric Martinson, who is executive vice president of The Queen’s Health System. It was current UH President M.R.C. Greenwood who asked the regents to approve Hinshaw’s request for a paid sabbatical.

J.N. Musto, who heads the 3,600-member faculty union, was the only UH official to publicly speak out against the move at the regents’ meeting. It was pretty much a repeat of President David McClain’s request to then Board of Regents chairwoman Kitty Lagareta in 2007. It’s the way the game has been played at UH Manoa for years. The only difference is they don’t call it a game, it’s UH policy. Policy, in the sense that it is a prearranged decision of what will happen when a high-ranking executive on campus has to be ousted.

The Senate Special Committee on Accountability has been grilling UH officials. It is pretty interesting to watch so much intelligence being used to avoid answering pointed questions. Don’t feel sorry for the members of the special committee; they may not be able to pry answers from the clutches of the university. They cannot fire or hire anyone, but when it’s all said and done, they are the ones who ultimately shape the UH budget.

I thought during the questioning of new chancellor Tom Apple that there was an indication of the kind of leadership the university is known for. When asked about the reassigning of former athletic director Jim Donovan, the process of hiring a search firm to help select his successor, and when the decision was made to not return him to his original job, Apple suggested that after his arrival on campus, in all of his discussions about the athletic director’s job, he found no one who thought Donovan should be retained, so he was offered a deal he couldn’t refuse.

I don’t believe that “Wonder-Gate” ever will be solved completely. The game will move to the Square Building on South Beretania Street next year.

They will not recover the money, and all the high-priced lawyers won’t care; they will probably laugh all the way the to bank.

Everyone played the game well – again.

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