HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An online petition circulating among University of Hawaii faculty and students claims Frank Wiercinski isn't qualified to be UH president.
"He has absolutely no experience in higher education," UH English professor Cynthia Franklin said.
Franklin helped write the petition and a companion letter to UH Regents. She believes if Wiercinski is selected, the retired Army Lieutenant General will run UH like a drill instructor.
"The university should be a place where you're working with faculty and students in order to promote critical thinking and intellectual exchange," she said.
But Wiercinski said his leadership style is collaborative, not 'my way or the highway.'
"It has to be a collegial environment. It has to be a consensus building environment to reach the end conclusions and the end goals," he said.
The petition also said Wiercinski lacks historical knowledge of how Hawaii operates.
"Financially there is just no connection between running a cash-starved public institution and a well-funded military," Franklin said.
But Wiercinski said his managerial experience does translate.
"I come with a fresh approach and a leadership background in leading large, complex organizations," he said.
The petition said if Wiercinski takes the helm, he'll turn UH into a classified military research institution.
"The research that is accepted here is going to be an entire university system approved. It's not going to rest with one individual," Wiercinski said.
"He is from a military orientation, and seemed to approach this job in a militaristic fashion," Franklin said.
Wiercinski retired from the Army after 34 years in uniform. Next month, the UH Board of Regents will decide between interim president David Lassner and Wiercinski.
"I'm a non-traditional candidate. Their desire for me to do this was to help move the university forward. To get it out of a stalled state. The University of Hawaii could be the jewel of the Pacific. If I'm asked to serve, I will do that 100 percent," he said.
The petition and signatures will be given to the UH Board of Regents on Thursday.