University of Hawaii at Manoa’s chancellor is beginning to reveal his planned cuts to the different unions.
Tom Apple told KHON2 Tuesday he wanted to eliminate numerous high-level positions and consolidate some departments to save the university millions of dollars.
At least one union supports Apple’s efforts and believes some of the chancellor positions could be eliminated.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” said J.N. Musto, executive director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly. “I think it’s a misuse of the title.”
Musto says when the university system was reorganized more than 10 years ago, a chancellor position was created for every community college.
“They subsequently created more vice chancellors underneath them. They eliminated the deans. It’s a very inefficient structure,” he said.
The latest structure is also a more costly one. A UH community college chancellor earns between $145,000 and $164,000, which adds up to almost a million dollars a year for their salaries.
Musto believes only one chancellor is needed to oversee all the community colleges, which would save the university money on top of Apple’s other cost-cutting plans. “Use our taxpayer money to the best advantage that we can,” Musto said.
Apple wants to eliminate seven high-level positions, which are vacant and could save up to $2 million a year. Apple says the savings could be used to decrease tuition by $100 per student.
“Tuition is kind of high,” said student Royce Kurizaki. “I want to try to start paying it as much as I can so anything to help keep the costs down would be good.”
Musto says he also supports Apple’s plan to consolidate departments — for example, combining the Travel Industry Management School with the College of Business.
Though some students disagree. “I don’t think there’s room to consolidate at all,” said student Marisa Maen.
Consolidation could mean merging resources and facilities, but one question remains — would more jobs be eliminated as a result?
“I don’t want to go there yet. I don’t know. I don’t know what the future will hold,” Apple said.
Officials with HGEA, which also represents some of the UH staff, say they will meet with Apple soon to start discussing some of these consolidation plans.