BY JIM DOOLEY – University of Hawaii regents went into executive session again this afternoon to discuss UH President M.R.C. Greenwood’s employment contract, but no resolution of the matter was expected today.
Eric Martinson, chairman of the board of regents, said the panel intended to adjourn from executive session without public comment.
The board met for some 90 minutes in a special meeting last week to discuss Greenwood’s contract, which is in force until mid-2015.
Today was the normal monthly meeting of the board and more closed-door talk about Greenwood’s employment began about 3:30 p.m.
The regents approved a $1.4 billion proposed budget for the university for the next two years, deciding not to further increase a $30 million line item for new programs targeting Native Hawaiian students and new faculty hires at West Oahu College.
Additional spending in those areas could be included in supplementary budget requests next year.
The proposed budget will be submitted to Gov. Neil Abecrombie for inclusion in the executive branch’s financial plan to be submitted to the Legislature next year.
Greenwood drew laughs at today’s meeting when she wryly observed that the Legislature can always change the university’s budget plan.
Greenwood and her administrative team were extensively questioned by lawmakers in September and this month about management and financial decisions made in the aftermath of a failed fundraising concert this summer by entertainer Stevie Wonder.
Yesterday Greenwood told UH faculty members that she and her leadership team were subjected to improper outside political
pressure after Athletic Director James Donovan was removed from his job in July.
Supporters of Donovan pressured her to keep him in the athletic director’s post and she said she was warned that she would be subjected to public hearings and possible budgetary restrictions if she didn’t comply.
“I did not accede to this demand and the reason I did not was to protect the University, its faculty and its independence,” Greenwood told the UH Manoa faculty senate yesterday.
Donovan was placed on leave after the Wonder concert was cancelled and $200,000 paid by the University toward the planned concert was lost. The event was meant to raise money for UH sports programs.
Greenwood and Tom Apple, Chancellor of the university’s flagship Manoa campus, told lawmakers in the recent hearings that they were exploring the need for a new athletic director before the concert debacle. Discovery that the university had been victimized in what Greenwood termed a “sophisticated scam” hastened the decision to replace Donovan, she said.
Donovan has since been moved to a new, $200,000-per-year job in Apple’s office and a search for a new athletic director is underway.