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Concert fiasco sinks public's view of UH officials in poll

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:25 p.m. HST, Oct 30, 2012

Embed code: Oct 2012 Hawaii Poll Tables

University of Hawaii officials' standing with the public isn't faring well in the aftermath of the Stevie Wonder concert debacle this summer, the latest Hawaii Poll indicates.

The poll asked respondents for their opinions of UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, former athletic director Jim Dono­van and the UH Board of Regents. A significant number of respondents said they either had never heard of or did not know enough about the UH officials. But for those who did offer an opinion, none of the officials received high marks.

Donovan, who was transferred to another position at UH-Manoa, had the highest favorable rating at 26 percent versus 32 percent unfavorable. Greenwood was viewed favorably by 18 percent compared with 37 percent unfavorable, while the regents had the lowest favorability ranking at 17 percent versus 34 percent unfavorable.

The Hawaii Poll was taken Oct. 15-22 by Ward Research Inc. for the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now. The questions were asked of 786 residents statewide; results have a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. It was the first time the poll asked about UH officials, so there is no previous data for comparison.

The poll also asked whether respondents were confident that UH could handle its own affairs well or needed more oversight by the state Legislature. More legislative oversight was preferred by 43 percent, while 39 percent had faith in UH. The rest of the respondents did not know or did not answer the question.

UH autonomy has become part of the public discussion in the aftermath of the concert trouble. In July, UH announced that it apparently had been scammed out of $200,000 wired to a Florida business to book Wonder for a benefit concert for UH athletics. The business had no connection to the pop star, and UH had to return money to ticket buyers. UH officials also spent tens of thousands of dollars for outside lawyers and public relations consultants to deal with the aftermath.

In response, a legislative investigatory committee held two high-profile hearings in which Dono­van, Greenwood, several regents and other officials were questioned on the scam, university procedures and administrators' response to the debacle.

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