US Senator Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii

BY JIM DOOLEY – U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye has come to the defense of University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood.

US Senator Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii

A letter from Hawaii’s senior senator was delivered to the UH Board of Regents before members went into executive session today to discuss Greenwood’s employment contract.

The board met behind closed doors on Greenwood’s future and other matters before adjourning without announcing any decision.

Inouye urged the regents to consider the “financial and reputational” costs to the university if Greenwood’s employment contract were to be terminated.

“I would urge you to balance the many exciting initiatives and opportunities that are moving forward for the benefit of out Hawaii students under President Greenwood’s leadership,” Inouye’s letter said.

Greenwood’s contract runs through mid-2015 but she has come under fire this year for her handling of UH financial and management issues.

She oversaw the reassignment of popular UH Manoa Athletic Director James Donovan after a summer fundraiser for the athletics department was cancelled at a loss of more than $200,000.

The fundraiser, a concert by singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, was abruptly called off after Wonder’s agents told UH officials he had never been contacted about the event.

A $200,000 deposit paid by UH for the event was lost and the FBI is investigating the event, now known as the “Wonder Blunder.”

“No doubt there were serious failures in internal checks and balances of the university system which must be corrected to ensure such an embarrassing episode is not repeated,” Inouye wrote.

“I have been around for a long time,” said the senator, a UH alumnus, “and as alarming and upsetting as this incident may be, it is but a blip in the broader swath of the University of Hawaii’s history.”

The regents went behind closed doors shortly after noon to discuss Greenwood’s future as well as a legal settlement reached with Donovan after he was ousted as Athletic Director.

Donovan threatened to sue after he was placed on paid leave of absence in July and was then transferred to a new, $211,000-per-year job in the Manoa Chancellor’s office. The university also paid $30,000 in legal fees incurred by Donovan.

A state Senate committee that conducted hearings into the Wonder Blunder and other UH issues questioned the legality of the Donovan settlement since it was not formally approved by the full board of regents.

The regents today did vote to approve that settlement. Four board members dissented.

“Today we voted to affirm the Administration’s reassignment of former Athletic Director Jim Donovan because we need to put this affair and its aftermath behind us.  We have learned from this matter and will make sure that we have safeguards and guidelines in place so it does not happen again,” the board said in a written statement.

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Jim Dooley joined the Hawaii Reporter staff as an investigative reporter in October 2010. Before that, he has worked as a print and television reporter in Hawaii since 1973, beginning as a wire service reporter with United Press International. He joined Honolulu Advertiser in 1974, working as general assignment and City Hall reporter until 1978. In 1978, he moved to full-time investigative reporting in for The Advertiser; he joined KITV news in 1996 as investigative reporter. Jim returned to Advertiser 2001, working as investigative reporter and court reporter until 2010. Reach him at Jim@hawaiireporter.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. It's not that Greenwood's reputation did not precede the senator's endorsement. Her involvement at UC Davis with nepotism, and the academic, executive compensation scandals at UC Santa Cruz were out there. Sadly she seems to fit in here. The alumni should leave their checkbooks in the drawer when it comes to donation time.

  2. […] By Watchdog Staff  /   November 8, 2012  /   Comments Off Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); By Jim Dooley | Hawaii Reporter   HONOLULU — U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has come to the defense of University of Hawaii president M.R.C. Greenwood.   A letter from Hawaii’s senior senator was delivered to the UH Board of Regents before members went into a closed-door executive session Wednesday to discuss Greenwood’s employment contract. The board did not announce any decision after the meeting.   Inouye urged the regents to consider the “financial and reputational” costs to the university, if Greenwood’s employment contract was to be terminated.   “I would urge you to balance the many exciting initiatives and opportunities that are moving forward for the benefit of our Hawaii students under President Greenwood’s leadership,” Inouye’s letter said.   Greenwood’s contract runs through mid-2015, but she has come under fire this year for her handling of UH financial and management issues. Read the complete story at HawaiiReporter.com. […]

  3. I believe MRC is a spoiled, out of control "employee," none of my coworkers would get away with the attitude, gratuities, and indulgences she enjoys. Bottom line, the students have become an afterthought at the University of Hawaii, and a climate of self-grandiosing seems the norm with many who make the decisions for our public institutions and for our State.

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