UH president releases statement after Apple controversy

University of Hawaii president David Lassner
University of Hawaii president David Lassner

University of Hawaii president David Lassner is speaking out after reports questioned Tom Apple’s future as chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

According to J.N. Musto, executive director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the university’s faculty union, Apple had said he was told by Lassner that he would be replaced.

Read more: Future of UH-Manoa chancellor called into question

The following is a statement from Lassner:

As a matter of policy and in accordance with Hawaii public records law, university personnel matters are confidential and we abide by that commitment to confidentiality out of respect for our employees. Experience teaches that personnel issues are best addressed in private, and when a change in leadership is necessary, it is best accomplished with as much dignity as the circumstances permit.

It is my job as President to hold the executives who report to me accountable for their performance and the effectiveness of their leadership.  At UH, this is a holistic process that spans the full range of the executive’s duties and responsibilities, not a reaction to specific incidents.  I have maintained confidentiality both to provide the chancellor the privacy and dignity that any of us would want for ourselves in a difficult personnel situation, as well as to attempt to avoid disruption to the university’s critical work of teaching, learning, scholarship and service.

Unfortunately, many statements are circulating and the privacy I had hoped for has been compromised with a mix of truths and rumors from many sources. I regret that my attempt at maintaining privacy and dignity has been perceived by some as lacking transparency and accountability.  And I am truly sorry this has become a public spectacle.

UH Manoa is Hawaii’s only research university and the flagship campus of our UH System.  I am committed to fully supporting our UH Manoa students, who work every day to develop the knowledge and skills for success in their careers and as contributing citizens in our communities.  I am committed to supporting our superb UH Manoa faculty members, who teach and mentor students every day and engage in scholarship to advance human knowledge and address the challenges and opportunities facing our communities.  And I am committed to supporting our hardworking UH Manoa staff and administrators who every day balance the complexity of multiple missions and expectations from internal communities and external stakeholders.

At this time we all need to focus on polishing our crown jewel in the new financial environment faced by UH and public higher education across the country.  The financial conditions that have developed at UH Manoa over the past two years must be addressed with thoughtful leadership and deep collaboration. I am committed to embracing this broader challenge with effective campus leadership in a considered, open and collegial manner with the faculty, students, and staff of the UH Manoa campus and our stakeholders across the State of Hawaii.

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