Lawmakers weigh in on search for new UH president

Published On: May 07 2013 06:33:00 PM HST

On Monday,  University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood dropped a bombshell about her early retirement. 

The following day, she decided she didn't want to talk about it anymore.

Her office issued a statement indicating that "...she has said all she wishes to say on the subject of her pending retirement..."

Some of Greenwood's biggest critics are doing the talking hoping the change of leadership will be turning point for the university.

The UH president was absent at the Capitol this session.  Lawmakers noticed.

"It certainly raises concern how you can be effective, if you are not going to engage and answer questions from the legislature and the public," said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. 

The senator hopes the regents hire locally and avoid an expensive nationwide search.

She'd like to see new president's salary well below the close to a half a million Greenwood makes.

Kim hopes the new president will not be paid $60 thousand for a housing allowance since College Hill renovations will be completed by next month-- ready for a new president.

"It is my hope they will stay there if not then they will use their own money to stay somewhere else," said Kim.

Rep. Mark Takai hopes the UH regents will consider combining the president's position with the Manoa chancellor's to avoid the duplication of staff and costs.

Others are hoping for new leadership that is more transparent and more accountable.

Senate money chairman David Ige did praise Greenwood's efforts to increase research money during her tenure.

He didn’t know if her decision was somehow tied to an administration move not to fund faculty raises out of the general fund.

"It was not a conscious effort on our part not to fund the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly contract.  It was never presented for funding," Ige said.

The regents, who were told of Greenwood's decision on Monday, are not opting to call a special meeting even though her departure is just three months away.

The board issued a statement saying it would take up the  process  of selecting Greenwood's replacement at its next meeting May 16.


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