Senate president asks for UH changes after ‘Wonder Blunder’

There’s more fallout for UH from the Stevie Wonder concert that never happened. A state agency is criticizing the university for hiding important information that should have been released to the public. And it has the Senate President asking for more changes in how the university operates.

The Stevie Wonder fiasco led to a high profile hearing at the state legislature. Led by Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, a special senate committee on accountability grilled UH officials on how the university lost $200,000 dollars for a concert that never happened.

UH hired an outside law firm to present a fact finder’s report filled with redactions. And the Office of Information Practices now says most of the information blacked out should have been revealed.

“I am right now in the process of sending the report back to them with the letter to the president telling her that we are following the OIP opinion and also asking her who is in fact overseeing the product of these private attorneys,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim.

Senate President Kim had asked the OIP for an opinion on the report, and points out that UH paid the law firm $25,000 for it, and yet it didn’t follow the law concerning what should be revealed to the public.

“It seems to be a culture and an attitude of the University of Hawaii that they are above the law, one they don’t have to be transparent, they don’t have to give information to the public and they can just spend money any which way,” said Kim.

Senator Kim says she wants the Board of Regents to have more power to oversee the UH administration.

UH has released a statement saying, “We have reviewed the OIP opinion and will re-issue the Factfinder’s Report with the redactions directed by OIP.”

UH says it was advised by their own attorneys to redact the names of third parties outside the university to protect their rights. But UH will comply with what the OIP deems proper for release. The revised report will be available later this week.

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