UH Chancellor Tom Apple handed termination papers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH Chancellor Tom Apple handed termination papers

Tom Apple Tom Apple
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

University of Hawaii President David Lassner handed UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple a termination notice late Wednesday afternoon, Apple announced Wednesday night, saying "I have been forced out as chancellor of UH Manoa."

The action came just a few hours before UH student groups plan a protest and sit-in Thursday morning calling on Lassner to reverse his decision to fire Apple.

Apple said Lassner handed him a termination letter that said he will be out of his job as of Sept. 1 and he is not to take any actions without approval from Lassner, Apple said.

"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," Apple said in an email statement. "I am extremely disappointed about this action, as there is a lot of work left to do here at Manoa."

Apple's attorney Jerry Hiatt said Apple excepted a settlement offer from UH that will pay him $299,000 a year for a tenured professor position in the UH chemistry department as well as a lump sum of $100,000 of additional compensation which will also cover attorney fees.

Shortly after taking the chancellor's job two years ago, UH approved giving Apple a tenured position at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. But in the last few weeks, Apple said that would of created "untenable conditions under which I would have had to leave the university entirely."

In the medical school position Apple would have reported to its dean Dr. Jerris Hedges, with whom Apple has had numerous disagreements.

On July 18, Lassner delivered Apple an unsatisfactory written evaluation. Apple hired Hiatt, a Big Island employment lawyer,  to negotiate some kind of settlement with the school.

Apple is two years into a five-year employment agreement that paid him $439,008 a year contingent upon annual satisfactory job performance evaluations.

Hiatt has said any removal of Apple before the five-year period is a violation of that agreement.

Apple was let go because of a lack of leadership including his inability to manage the budget at UH Manoa, the university's flagship campus, sources said.

A number of deans did not support Apple and some of them tried to mount a no-confidence vote effort against him that never materialized, sources said.

Earlier this month, when Apple called for $10 million in budget cuts each year for the next two years, he had to amend his memo twice, clarifying exactly what he meant, sources said.

Lassner also told Apple that he had "lost the confidence" of some community members because he tried to fire UH Cancer Center Director Dr. Michele Carbone, and was overruled by the regents and Lassner, sources said.

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