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UH acknowledges rocky legislative relationships to WASC

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:18 p.m. HST, Mar 21, 2013

In a letter to an accreditation body, the University of Hawaii today acknowledged rocky relationships with legislators in the wake of last year’s Stevie Wonder concert debacle, but said the situation is improving.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges had warned earlier this month that the episode had included inappropriate external interference from government officials and “revealed the fragility” of the university’s autonomy.

In response to that warning, UH President M.R.C. Greenwood said in a letter to WASC on Thursday that, “The media coverage has not been as measured as one would hope, but we acknowledge that what you have read reflects a serious decline in the quality of interactions and relations among the various parties.”

Greenwood also addressed several bills introduced this session that WASC said could interfere with the university’s autonomy.

“The bills and resolutions that were sponsored in the early days of the legislative session have, for the most part, not progressed, and there seems to be a genuine effort to differentiate between ‘external interference’ and appropriate levels of accountability,” Greenwood wrote.

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