Apple’s letter to “UH Manoa Ohana” regarding concert, AD search

September 12th, 2012

A friend at the University of Hawaii at Manoa shared this letter received from Chancellor Tom Apple today. It addresses the Stevie Wonder concert situation and the athletic director search:

Dear UH Manoa Ohana,

Since arriving at Manoa, I have spoken personally with many of you. We have had a chance to get to know each other and exchange ideas and opinions, person to person. I have been very impressed by the passion, commitment and quality of our faculty, staff and students here. I have met some of the best scholars and educators that it has been my privilege to know. Unfortunately, there has not been enough time for me to speak with most of you in person.

I am excited about advancing the campus in our two primary missions: scholarship that has impact, and the academics to help our students find their passions. To that end, I want to engage the community in dialog on a regular basis. You have not heard anything from me directly regarding what took place since the Stevie Wonder concert was cancelled. With all of the controversy swirling about right now, that is something I would like to remedy.

The members of our UH Manoa community are justifiably distressed by what they have seen and heard regarding the failed concert and the search for a new Athletics Director. Partial facts, rumors and personal allegiances have all had a part in raising the temperature of the discussion. It is important that all of us who care deeply about the University and its people have facts to deal with before making our conclusions. That is the purpose of this email.

I begin by saying that, while I inherited the failed concert situation, I have made my share of missteps in communication since arriving. My public outreach was less than satisfying for all concerned, because I was not able to provide a lot of details, either because the investigation was ongoing or because of legal restrictions. People had a right to know that at the time. With respect to the failures of checks and balances, and general judgment that should have prevented the loss of $200,000: I have instituted measures to prevent this from happening again. In addition, the Board of Regents has formed a group to ensure that our policies and procedures are both sound and efficient.

I have heard from many of you who have said that Jim Donovan should be returned to the position of Athletics Director. While it is true that the decision had already been made not to extend his contract, I was the one who requested that Dr. Rockne Freitas step in as interim Athletics Director and that Jim be reassigned. My decision to do this was based on many conversations with people within and outside the Athletics program. While I did and still do praise Jim’s commitment to UH and his many talents, I concluded that it was in the best interest of the Athletics program and our students to reassign him. I stand by that decision. The timing of Jim’s reassignment made a difficult situation more complicated and confusing and I regret that. I very much appreciate the support of my decision by the University President and members of the Board of Regents.

I approached campus and community leaders and asked them to serve on a Search Advisory Committee to find candidates for the position of Athletics Director. Accepting the challenge in the current climate was something each member had to consider carefully. Their commitment to the University should be applauded.

As you are probably aware, a few days after formation of the Committee, a letter signed by nearly every coach in the Athletics Department was sent to me, indicating their support for Dr. Freitas’ leadership. In the letter, they requested that he be appointed permanent AD. This event was followed by reactions on multiple sides of the issue. However the Search Advisory Committee weighs the contents of the coaches’ letter, what they decide the role of the three coaches named to the Committee should be, and whatever names they recommend for the position of Athletics Director, there will be some who will disagree with the Committee’s recommendation. I ask that the Committee members be given the space to do what has been asked of them. The Search Advisory Committee will publish updates periodically to keep us all informed, but their deliberations should be respected as confidential.

It is clear from all that has happened that there are many who are intensely interested in and care about our University. We have had our challenges, and we have taken action to rise to meet them. Please don’t allow what has happened to distract or discourage you. Now is a time for the entire community to come together and support one another. We are all in the same canoe. We can only move forward if we are all paddling in the same direction.

Athletics is very important to the UH community, but it is only a part of what we do. We must not lose sight of the preeminence of our academic mission, our students, faculty and staff. They all need and deserve our support and attention. This is a place where students’ lives are transformed. Our research has tremendous impact and helps those in our community and around the world. This week, the news included reports of our John A. Burns School of Medicine faculty, staff and students helping the homeless in our community, and about our UH Cancer Center discovering critical new information about fatal cancers. The greatness of our University ties into the greatness of our State. What we do here affects everyone. Wisdom, common sense, integrity and openness of spirit are cherished values here in our islands. Let’s show the world what working with aloha really means.

Chancellor Tom Apple

20 Responses to “Apple’s letter to “UH Manoa Ohana” regarding concert, AD search”

  1. kailua000:

    here we go, another politician….”I inherited the failed concert situation”; “the Board of Regents has formed a group”..thats just what we need. A group within a group thats not working so well in the first place.

  2. mahukona:

    So now that the UH Manoa Ohana have heard from Mr. Apple, what have they learned? Absolutely nothing!

  3. Translator:

    I shall translate Chancellor Apple’s letter for you. Here is the translation:

    “PLEASE GIVE ME A SECOND CHANCE. . . PLEEEEEEEEEEASE . . . PLEEEEASE DON’T LET THAT DONNA KIM LADY GET ME FIRED. . . PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE. . . PRETTY PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE. . . lets just wait. . . eventually we’ll forget about this and everything will be ok and no one will be mad with me anymore. . . PLEEEEEEEEASE. . . for da keiki (see, I can be local). . . and the Ohana. . .

  4. yojimbo:

    what a waha nui!

  5. jcole:

    What a hollow letter! It will satisfy no one, certainly not anyone who learned anything after age twelve and junior high school, and it will undermine his standing, not shore it up.

  6. NYUHtX:

    Time to move on.

  7. Gilligan:

    Take the blame, no doubt orders from the President, but don’t worry Apple, you will be highly compensated later. Explanation of Donovan’s situation completely disregards the attorney’s prior statement.

  8. Otto:

    What they should have done is fire Donovan, Clapp, Sherriff, the Contracting Officer and the Staff Attorney. They didn’t perform any due diligence. There was no intent to defraud or steal, but lets face it… they were STUPID. Donovan & Sheriff should have resigned just out of guilt for falling for this scam.

    I assume that the UH has filed a criminal complaint. The FBI doesn’t comment on on-going investigations, so we don’t know what we don’t know. I also assume that UH will file a civil lawsuit against the promoter, but he filed for bankruptcy, so thats a dry hole.

  9. 808comp:

    They should have let Donovan finish his contract,and release him after it expired, instead Apple gives him another job with a huge salary.Apple,Greenwood,Donovan,and the BOR should all resign their positions so the University can start on a clean slate.Mr. Apple, you,and the rest that i’ve named is the only one’s on the canoe. Turn the canoe around,put a motor on it,and sail into the sunset.

  10. Ho Hum:

    Blah, blah, blah……….

    There’s a lot of talk about “Donovan is responsible and should be fired because he’s the boss”.

    Wouldn’t the same hold true going “up the line” with respect to Donovan’s superiors?


    donovan’s reassignment was done because his attorney threatened to sue UH because they abused dononvan’s rights and character by suspending him before the investigation was completed. But, this is a normal procedure when anyone is suspected of possible wrong doing, until the investigation is completed. further, the investigation revealed that donovan as AD was responsible and negligent in his oversight of this fiasco. Hence, apple has made a gross mistake to capitulate to donovan’s attorney threats and cost UH over $600,000 over 3 years. If UH did not want to fire donovan, they simply could have allowed him to serve out the remainder of his contract in some other capacity. It is obvious that donovan’ contract as AD would not be extended since many people felt he was not doing a good job. additionally, sheriff should have be fired since he was grossly negligent in dealing with the process. donovan’s reassignment should be rescinded, and just allow him to serve out the remainder of his contract. Hope the legislature’s investigation will right the situation; as the decisions made by apple were totally irresponsible.

  12. Chicken Grease:

    Bet you anything Apple wishes he didn’t take this job/come here. He shoulda’ researched more, saw this island as a Democrat stronghold across the board; needed a game plan to know how he could/would influence the network.

    Give him two, three years. He’ll be “back to Mainland for personal reasons” “want to go in a different direction with my career,” etc., etc., ad nauseum.

    Have a feeling Chow (yes, Coach) might do the same thing if he cannot manage to handle Lamar this Saturday and/or most of the home games this season.

  13. Niko:

    What all of us want to know is who screwed up and what will be the resulting consequence. Other then that, still the same CYA and no accountability for those who are careless with the public funds entrusted to them.

  14. CriticalReader:

    Mr. Apple is severely damaged goods right now. What he admits in his letter are a comedy of errors in acts and judgment. Or, he could be covering for Greenwood. Either one is bad. Considering his price tag, UH deserves and should expect far more and far better. Also, I don’t understand exactly what he thought he was doing by sending out that letter. Did he actually think it would help? If so, he really doesn’t have what we need to lead UH Manoa competently and intelligently.

  15. Ho Hum:

    Why in the world would he name 3 coaches to the committee that essentially will “Hire their own boss?” Does this man have “common sense”? Surely for his annual salary he should. It seems at every turn he makes a fool of himself.

  16. nobody:

    How much are we paying this guy? Oh, no worry, he got another job lined up at UH if he’s no good at this one.

  17. Jjay:

    Upper campus ….what a joke. Excess needless waste of money to fund too many executive positions while we don’t have enough instructors and classes for our UH students. A crying shame. Shame on you Greenwood and Apple and cowboy hat lady who took sabbatical at our expense !!

  18. hosssana:

    Sounds like another Obama clone…” i inherited the situation….” geezus, the whole letter is obammy stench written all over it….true democrat.

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