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Regents affirm reassignment; 'sad episode,' Greenwood says

By Ferd Lewis

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:09 p.m. HST, Aug 22, 2012


The University of Hawaii Board of Regents affirmed the decision to reassign ex-athletic director Jim Donovan today.

The board emerged from a 7 1/2 hour closed-door executive session at Windward Community College to make  the announcement and issued a statement in support of president M.R.C. Greenwood and Manoa chancellor Tom Apple.

"This has been a sad episode for the University of Hawaii, our fans and the public," Greenwood said in a post-regents press conference.

"It is understandable that some of our employees wanted to do something to help enhance the resources of the athletic department."

"We all make mistakes and we hope we can learn from our mistakes," Greenwood said.

The board said, "We apologize for the university's handling of this matter and we are deeply sorry for the concern and upset it has caused in the community."

The board said it would release a copy of the Stevie Wonder concert fiasco investigation later.

Donovan's reassignment and the investigation were two of the seven items taken up in the executive session.

Prior to entering executive session the regents accepted a letter in support of Donovan signed by nine Neighbor Island legislators and in-person public testimony from four people, including members of the UH Letterwinners Club, who asked the board to reinstate Donovan.

Donovan and Stan Sheriff Center manager Rich Sheriff were placed on paid indefinite leave July 11 pending the investigation of the Wonder controversy. But while Sheriff was reinstated to his original position on Aug. 13, Donovan was reassigned on Aug. 12 to a position in the Manoa Chancellor's office. His titled has not yet been decided.

Donovan's supporters, citing a UH statement which said he was involved in no "wrongdoing," have sought his return as AD.

In a two-page statement, the legislators wrote, "We believe Mr. Donovan's performance as athletic director has been outstanding and we urge you to consider the advancements he has made and the relationships he has built in the community and at the legislature."

It was signed by State Representatives Mark Nakashima , Robert Herkes, Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran, Derek S. K. Kawakami, Daynette "Dee" Morikawa, Jerry L. Chang, Denny Coffman, Kyle T. Yamashita and James Kunane Tokioka.

Charlie Araki, a former dean of the College of Education and member of the Letterwinners' Club, told the board, "A great university will admit to errors but make the error right as soon as possible."

UH ATHLETICS INVESTIGATION STATEMENT

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents issued the following statement today after a multi-hour closed door session.

We apologize for the university's handling of this matter and are deeply sorry for the concern and upset it has caused in the community. We approve the release today of the redacted report of the investigation and the key findings of the investigation. The report shows a failure of management in the Athletics Department and additional issues with financial controls at several levels.

We ask that everyone remember that the university is the victim in this whole unfortunate incident. We have lost a significant amount of money, and could face litigation.

We want to first emphasize our strong support for the leadership of university President MRC Greenwood and UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple.

We also expect and support the public's demand for accountability in this matter. We recognize that the concert issue was mishandled and anticipate making significant changes to procedures and oversight so that this cannot happen again.

The Board of Regents will oversee these changes and has asked the administration to report back to the board on these plans to improve oversight and procedures.

We are in full support of the university's decision to move former Athletic Director Jim Donovan to the UH Manoa Chancellor's office and affirm President Greenwood and Chancellor Apple's actions in this personnel change. We concur that Jim's service in this new role will be a suitable and appropriate use of his talents and we look forward to his future contributions to the university.

We are entrusted and committed to improving and growing the University of Hawaii.

Source: University of Hawaii External Affairs






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