University Of Hawaii Professor Noel Kent Scorns UH President Greenwood; Asks Faculty For No-Confidence Vote

Noel Kent (University of Hawaii photo)
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BY JIM DOOLEY – High executive salaries at the University of Hawaii really irritate Prof. Noel Kent, so he had an acid response today to a fundraising email from UH President M.R.C. Greenwood.

Noel Kent (University of Hawaii photo)

Greenwood asked UH employees to make charitable donations to the Aloha United Way campaign, calling such contributions a way of “giving back to the community.”


Nine minutes after that message was sent, Kent’s answer was in Greenwood’s in-box.

“President Greenwood:  Thank you and please provide an example of ‘giving back’ by donating $150,000 of your half million dollar salary to United Way,” he wrote.

“This would still leave you in the top 1% of American incomes, what the Occupy Folks like to call ‘the 1%,’” Kent said.

Kent sent his email a day after he asked the UH Faculty Senate for a vote of “no confidence” in Greenwood.

Greenwood’s salary is actually set at $475,000 but she accepts $425,000 because of the university’s ongoing

M.R.C. Greenwood

financial difficulties. She also has access to a $135,000 annual “protocol fund” and receives a $5,000-per-month housing allowance.

The housing allowance is another irritant to Kent, because Greenwood has chosen to live in a Waikiki condominium instead of College Hill, the stately Manoa Valley home long used to house UH presidents.

Last year, Kent asked UH Regents to “make $5,000 a month in grants available to any and all UH staff and faculty who are also in need of rental assistance.”

Three months ago, Kent, a professor of ethnic studies, barged into a local television news crew’s interview of outgoing UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.

“This woman is getting a huge payback and now, she’s getting hundreds of thousands of dollars!” Kent yelled on-camera.

Before Hinshaw stepped down as chancellor in June, she was paid $345,000. She is now receiving $287,000 while on a 10-month sabbatical.

Tom Apple, the new chancellor, is paid $439,000 annually.

“This is a disgrace,” Kent shouted during the HawaiiNewsNow interview of Hinshaw. “You’re stealing money from the people of Hawaii!”

He later told reporters from Ka Leo, the UH student newspaper, that he had been walking his dog on campus when he saw the interview taking place and couldn’t restrain himself.

In an emailed question-and-answer exchange with Ka Leo, Kent referred to Greenwood as “President Greenbucks” and repeated his long-held belief that the Manoa Chancellor’s office should be merged back into the president’s office, where it used to be.

That would save $14 million, which could be spent “on more instructors so students can get classes they need,” Kent told Ka Leo.

He said the combined president/chancellor structure was in place for the first 30 years he was at UH, acknowledging that it didn’t work too well because “our presidents were almost always incompetents.”

But things haven’t gotten better, just pricier, under the new system, Kent told the students.

“If we are going to have an administration of imbeciles, let it at least be less expensive,” he said in the interview.

Kent said this afternoon he believes the university is facing “a historic credibility crisis” under Greenwood and yesterday he asked the faculty senate to “take a vote of no confidence in her.”

The university has been buffeted in recent months by the loss of $200,000 in its cancelled Stevie Wonder fundraiser for the Athletics Department and the subsequent reassignment of Athletics Director Jim Donovan to a new job inside the Chancellor’s office.

Greenwood, Donovan, Apple and other University officials have been summoned to testify before a state Senate committee next week that is investigating management practices at the educational institution. See Related Story

Kent said he hopes the faculty endorses his no-confidence proposal at its October meeting – after the senate committee has taken its testimony.

“I think the faculty needs to step up and take some responsibility,” Kent said.




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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