MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has approved the deal that removed Jim Donovan as UH athletic director and created a new communications position in the office of Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple.
The agreement never went before a vote of all 15 regents, which was against the board's policy.
The regents met behind closed doors in executive session for nearly three hours before taking a vote on the agreement.
"This particular issue arose out of an attorney general's opinion, which only applied board policy 8-dash-1-dash D to the Donovan agreement," said UH general counsel Darolyn Lendio, referring to the policy that requires the regents to approve any agreement of more than $500,000. The agreement with Donovan pays him $211,000 a year for the next three years.
Regents first unanimously approved a motion that affirmed that the deal was an agreement with Donovan. Then they voted to approve the agreement, 11-4, with regents Jan Sullivan, Benjamin Kudo, John Holzman and Tom Shigemoto voting no.
According to the agenda, regents also discussed the future of UH President M.R.C. Greenwood in executive session, but did not mention anything about it during the public session. The regents also did not comment after the meeting but issued the following statement via Lynne Waters, the university's Associate Vice President for External Affairs and University Relations:
The Board of Regents today announced its continued commitment to independently manage the mission of the University of Hawaii. The Board welcomes the views of University stakeholders and will work cooperatively with community leaders, government officials, alumni and supporters who share the common goal of continuously improving the University's quality of education and research reputation. The Board's autonomy will not be influenced or deterred by undue pressure from those outside or within the University system from performing its constitutional mandate.
The last few months have been extremely trying times for our students, alumni, supporters, donors and all who have a special aloha for our university. Mistakes were made, and significant changes in policies, procedures and oversight are being implemented.
Today we voted to affirm the Administration's reassignment of former Athletic Director Jim Donovan because we need to put this affair and its aftermath behind us. We have learned from this matter and will make sure that we have safeguards and guidelines in place so it does not happen again. The Advisory Task Group Report will provide guidance to the Regents, the President and senior administration, and all of us charged with the honor of guiding the University of Hawaii.
We have much to be proud of at UH. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges issued a glowing report about the strides we have made in retention and graduation rates. The National Science Foundation ranked UH Manoa in the top ten percent of all research institutions. We will continue to move forward, and work with the University leadership to bring this institution to the next level of national research and academic prominence.