Regents approve Donovan's settlement

Published On: Nov 08 2012 10:24:48 AM HST

Citing a need to put the Stevie Wonder concert controversy behind them, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents took a vote on Jim Donovan, discussed the UH president appointment and issued a statement about who makes decisions about the school on Wednesday.

The regents have been accused of keeping university details to themselves.

Even now, many students are still unsure of who is responsible for the "Wonder Blunder," why the athletics director was fired and why the sports department is now being audited.

"A lot of things weren't explained to us and to the public," said UH senior Rachel Spain.

The board briefly held a meeting Wednesday afternoon where it did vote in favor of Jim Donovan's reassignment -- an assignment that took place months ago.

"Stay tuned.  This story will get more interesting over time," said UH president M.R.C. Greenwood.

But, the regents again spent much of the day behind closed doors in executive sessions where members talked about the performance of the UH president, but only to other regents.

"In my three years here, I've seen a lot of construction and upgrades to student resources," said UH junior Andreas Gaeta.  "I like seeing that and knowing my tuition is going somewhere."

Interestingly, the only communication the board had at the end of the day was a written statement which welcome the views of the public and those in government as long as they were the same goals as the regents and didn't try to tell the board what to do.  In fact, the statement said, "The Board’s autonomy will not be influenced or deterred by undue pressure from those outside or within the University system..."

But, in this place of learning, many say the school can learn from its mistakes by listening to that outside help.

"The more opinions we have, the better," said UH graduate student Julius Bravo.  "It is crucial for the school to seek other voices out there and check up on what we are doing."

Donovan had no comment about the board's vote on his settlement and neither did the regents themselves after the meeting.

At next month's UH board meeting, there is expected to be an update on the investigation into the missing money from the failed concert.

Statement from the UH Board of Regents:

"The Board of Regents today announced its continued commitment to independently manage the mission of the University of Hawaii.  The Board welcomes the views of University stakeholders and will work cooperatively with community leaders, government officials, alumni and supporters who share the common goal of continuously improving the University’s quality of education and research reputation.  The Board’s autonomy will not be influenced or deterred by undue pressure from those outside or within the University system from performing its constitutional mandate.  

The last few months have been extremely trying times for our students, alumni, supporters, donors and all who have a special aloha for our university.  Mistakes were made, and significant changes in policies, procedures and oversight are being implemented.

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 Advisory Task Group Report will provide guidance to the Regents, the President and senior administration, and all of us charged with the honor of guiding the University of Hawaii.  

We have much to be proud of at UH.  The Western Association of Schools and Colleges issued a glowing report about the strides we have made in retention and graduation rates.  The National Science Foundation ranked UH Manoa in the top ten percent of all research institutions.  We will continue to move forward, and work with the University leadership to bring this institution to the next level of national research and academic prominence."


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