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UH Manoa’s Apple gets termination letter

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University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple says he was forced out as head of the UH system’s flagship campus Wednesday, two years into his five-year appointment.

“The community has a right to know from the horse’s mouth, rather than wondering what happened,” Apple said in an email to reporters late Wednesday. “I was handed a termination letter late this afternoon by President Lassner. … I asked one more time if there was any chance that he might reverse his intention to release me from the post, and was told ‘no.'”

The move comes one day after UH President David Lassner alluded to an impending firing in a statement that said he had tried to maintain confidentiality about the situation “both to provide the chancellor the privacy and dignity that any of us would want for ourselves in a difficult personnel situation, as well as to attempt to avoid disruption” to the school.

According to a settlement agreement, Apple will now hold a tenured position as a UH chemistry professor. His salary is set at $299,000. Apple holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Delaware.

Apple was hired in May 2012 at a $439,008 annual salary under former UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, who recommended he be appointed to a five-year term through June 30, 2017, “subject each year to successful annual performance evaluations at the level of satisfactory or above.”

“Though I have been forced out of my post as chancellor, I remain willing to serve the university,” Apple said.

He has retained Hawaii island attorney Jerry Hiatt to represent him in the dispute. Hiatt has said the chancellor has three years remaining on a five-year contract that includes rights to a tenured faculty position.

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