Response by Tom Apple to Pres. Lassner's comments

Published On: Aug 01 2014 08:30:00 PM HST
Tom Apple
HONOLULU -

The following are the responses by Tom Apple to UH President David Lassner.  Pres. Lassner's statements are in quotes followed by Apple's responses.

"Over these past two years, what developed was what Chancellor Apple characterized -- and I have no reason to believe that’s not accurate -- as a $20 million per year operating budget shortfall. That did not exist in 2012. His vice chancellors have been trying to advise him of this, I have personally been trying to advise him of these challenges, and there was no apparent change in course of action until the freeze was announced, which was announced after we began our separation conversations."

Response: "The year before I expenses exceeded revenues, resulting in a drop of the reserves by $37M. My first fiscal year I lowered the shortfall to $18M and my second year (when our budget was cut $7M by the Legislature and the electrical costs increased) the shortfall was $21M."

"I think waiting until July 15 to issue a freeze memo was a delayed reaction to a crisis that had been building. I don’t actually have an opinion about whether the freeze was the best action, although it’s had to be clarified twice and I know there have been many concerns expressed by students, faculty and administrators about the impact."

Response: "The fiscal year end numbers don’t come out until the beginning to the middle of July. When the VC for Administration informed me she had a good grasp of where we were with the figures, we reviewed them with the other VC's, discussed hiring and salary raise freezes, and the 2.5% budget cut at that time."

"I had several concerns…One was the financial condition of the campus."

Response: "I have developed a multifaceted approach to our budget problems, which I outlined in my rebuttal to President Lassner’s evaluation of me. Our budget shortfall is less now than it was before I arrived."

"I had concerns about ability to lead a cohesive leadership team."

Response: "In the climate in which I arrived and without the support from those higher up, it was impossible to remove people at an executive level who refused to work constructively with me. "

"I had concerns about divisiveness on the campus, and increasing zero-sum game attitudes about who’s getting whose money."

Response: "In order to maintain the best functioning of this campus, monies must sometimes be moved from one unit to another to adapt to changing student needs. It is my belief that tuition has to follow the student. But a major thrust of my approach to our budget problems has been to grow the pie, rather than to only redistribute it. Making hard decisions in this climate can cause dissent. But as for devisiveness, I believe that that comes from sources other than myself."

On the Cancer Center and Michele Carbone: "I never said to him, 'You may not remove that director.'"

Response: "It’s true. President Lassner never said those words. The then Chairman of the Board of Regents did. What Lassner did was to remove me from direct communication with the Cancer Center. He placed someone else in the chain of command between me and the Cancer Center. He also installed 2 high priced executives as assistants to monitor Director Carbone’s actions."

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