Today marks the first day of work for UH Manoa Chancellor-Designate, Tom Apple, and it's the final week for the flagship campus' top executive, Virginia Hinshaw.
Much controversy has surfaced over Apple's large salary and Hinshaw's sabbatical pay, and it all came to a head during our interview with the executives today. A longtime professor at U.H. happened to be passing by and had a few choice words for university leaders.
Our interview with outgoing chancellor Hinshaw had just begun when we were interrupted. "This woman is getting a huge payback and now, she's getting hundreds of thousands of dollars!" shouted UH ethnics studies professor, Noel Kent. "$292,000 a year? This is a disgrace. This is a disgrace. You're stealing money from the people of Hawaii!"
Kent is a long-time professor at UH and says faculty and students are "demoralized" and "in despair" over what he calls astronomical executives' salaries. He's among critics who've questioned Hinshaw's 10 month sabbatical pay, as she leaves office, of almost $290,000.
He continued shouting at Hinshaw, "How do you justify a $292,000 a year?" UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl stepped in and escorted Kent away from the interview site, saying, "Sir, this is not the time." Kent replied, "This IS the time! No one else is talking about this. It's time we talked about this!"
Some have also criticized the $440,000 annual pay that new chancellor Apple is getting. It's almost $100,000 more than Hinshaw received but a slight paycut from his job as Provost at the University of Delaware.
"Students can't get the classes they need to graduate. We don't have enough counselors. We have basic infrastructural problems that need to be improved on this university, and meanwhile, we're devoting all our money to paying these huge salaries. It doesn't make sense, and people are angry," says Kent.
Hinshaw remained calm and unflustered by the confrontation. Shortly after, we asked her to respond. I said, "Do you feel that it's a fair compensation for the job that you've done?" Hinshaw replied, "Yes. And I think it's very common practice across the U.S., and I plan on trying to assist the university and Hawaii in any way I can going into the future."
Apple also addressed the controversy, saying, "I will be held accountable for bringing in results. I hope that, in a very short time, people look back and say that I was a good investment." He points to a study done a couple of weeks ago, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, that lists the Manoa chancellorship as right at median pay for school executives in comparable positions across the country.
Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.