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Committee mulling criteria for picking new UH president

July 4, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A committee of the University of Hawaii's board said the school's next president should have an understanding of the unique importance of Hawaii, given the state's size, geographic isolation, unique ecology and blend of diverse cultures.

They say the next president should also appreciate the contributions of Native Hawaiians historically and today and be committed to Native Hawaiian student success.

They want the new president to be a successful fundraiser and be comfortable in an environment where public accountability is highly valued.

The Board of Regents' presidential selection committee discussed their criteria for a new president at a meeting on Tuesday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The university is seeking a replacement for M.R.C. Greenwood. She announced in May that she was retiring to deal with health problems and spend more time with family. She had two years left on her contract.

Greenwood was heavily criticized during her last year in office by lawmakers who were upset with how she responded to news last July that the athletic department had botched an attempt to hire Stevie Wonder to perform at a fundraiser concert. The department was scammed out of a $200,000 deposit by someone falsely claiming to represent the singer.

Greenwood removed Jim Donovan as athletic director after the fiasco. But the university then gave Donovan a new three-year contract worth about $600,000 for a different position when he threatened to sue if he wasn't reinstated.

On the issue of athletics, the committee said the new president should "appreciate that while intercollegiate athletics have great potential to unify and strengthen community support for the university, they could also pose potential moral and financial hazards."

Committee leader John Holzman and other regents say the criteria are only a first draft. The committee wants the public to share their ideas too.

"As it is now it's a public document. People can feel free to take a look at it. We just want feedback," Holzman said during the meeting. "If we as the regents who are responsible for this process don't begin the conversation, who will?"

After discussing at length whether to hire a local or national search firm, the committee decided it would be best to request proposals and consider any firm that understands the university's needs.



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