Shake-up renews debate about need for Manoa chancellor

Shake-up renews debate about need for Manoa chancellor

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The leadership shake-up involving Tom Apple has renewed the debate about whether the University of Hawaii at Manoa needs a chancellor. The position was eliminated once before, leaving the UH president to run the entire system and the Manoa campus.

In 1985, then-President Albert Simone consolidated the functions of the UH president and Manoa chancellor with the support of the Board of Regents. 17 years later, however, Peter Englert became chancellor after the regents approved then-President Kenneth Mortimer's recommendation to separate the jobs.

"We objected at the time. We said this is going to duplicate the administrative structure at the system level and at Manoa, and it has," said J.N. Musto, executive director of the UH Professional Assembly.

State Rep. K. Mark Takai said he initially supported the separation since the move wasn't supposed to create additional costs, but he quickly changed his mind.

"My estimation was that the separation of the two - system president and the Manoa chancellor - was costing at least $6 million a year," said Takai.

Takai and others believe that Apple's pending departure is the perfect opportunity to take another look at reorganization.

"Whether the chancellor and president's position should be consolidated, I believe, needs to be investigated, looked at, reviewed and discussed. Whether it happens again its up to regents, but I believe that there is excessive bloat at the top," said Takai.

"Because they're co-located, people have thought, 'Do we need two?' But the job of managing and running and leading a major research institution is a full-time job," said Jim Shon, director of the Hawaii Education Policy Center.

Musto believes each campus should have a president who reports to the Board of Regents. A chancellor of the entire UH system would be in charge of statewide issues. He hopes that university administrators have learned a lesson and will make changes to transform the school's future.

"I think we are on the verge of the definition of insanity if we don't, thinking that we can just replace the people and somehow things are going to function in a different way," said Musto.