The question over whether Tom Apple would remain as Chancellor of the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus has been settled
Late Wednesday afternoon, the president of the University of Hawaii, David Lassner, handed Apple a termination memo. In a statement provided to KHON2 by Apple’s attorney, Jerry Hiatt, Apple said:
Under the memo, I was terminated from my position as Chancellor for alleged unsatisfactory performance in that job. I believe I have done my job to the best of my ability and in service to the true needs of this institution. I had previous provided Dr. Lassner with my rebuttal of his allegations of unsatisfactory performance.
When I was handed the memo, I asked President Lassner, one more time, if there was any chance that he might reverse his intention to terminate me as Chancellor and I reiterated my willingness to continue to serve. I was told this was out of the question.
I was originally given a one hour deadline to accept a final settlement offer from the university. This time was later extended to the evening. If I did not accept the University last offer, I would have been forced to take a position in the medical school, reporting to Dean Hedges. That would have created untenable conditions under which I would have had to leave the University entirely. I therefore directed my attorney to accept the last offer – simply in order to protect my family’s livelihood.
I am extremely disappointed about this action, as there is a lot of work left to do here at Manoa.
I want to express my very sincere thanks, aloha and appreciation to the students, staff, faculty and administrators here on campus, and to the members of the larger community throughout the state, who have worked tirelessly with me, and have accomplished so much over the past couple of years. I am in awe of their dedication to make UHM a better, stronger university, and am very grateful for their support.
Though I have been forced out of my post as Chancellor, I do remain willing to serve this fine University if given the opportunity to do so.
Hiatt included the confidential settlement offer from the University of Hawaii to Apple, as well as the termination memo.
In a statement provided to KHON2 by the Chair of the Manoa Faculty Senate, Professor Ron Bontekoe said the members of the Senate Executive Committee drafted a letter to be sent to faculty constituents in which we observed that “the presence of a knowledgeable chancellor, with proper authority and a collegial relationship with faculty and students, is vital if we are to equitably resolve the budget issues we face.”
The letter goes on to say that “it is destabilizing and demoralizing to fire academic leaders when it is not clear that significant errors have been made. Such actions undermine our ability to attract qualified leadership for the university in the future.”
In a separate statement, Bontekoe said “I, for one, as Chair of the Manoa Faculty Senate, deplore the fact that such an important decision was taken by President Lassner without any reasonable consultation with faculty or student representatives at Manoa. Like many other faculty members, I rate Tom Apple as perhaps the best Chancellor that Manoa has had in the past fifteen years.”
KHON2 contacted the leaders of Thursday’s planned demonstration in support of Apple. Both Kelly Zakimi, the vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, the student government organization, as well as Michelle Tigchelaar, the president of the Graduate Student Organization, say the demonstration will go on as scheduled. That will start at 7 a.m. Thursday in front of Hawaii Hall (where the office of the Manoa chancellor is located), and will move an hour later to Bachman Hall (where the office of the university president is located).