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Friday, October 12, 2012
Apple Explains How He Put Freitas in Donovan's Place
By News Release @ 4:20 PM :: 4776 Views :: Energy, Environment

October 11, 2012

Senator Donna Mercado Kim

Chair, Senate Special Committee on Accountability

State Capitol Honolulu, HI 96813  

Aloha Senator Kim:

Senator Kim’s Letter of October 6, 2012

“Specifically, please provide the Committee with a written response that either confirms or clarifies each of the following statements you made during your testimony at the Informational Briefing held on October 2, 2012:

1. “In the interest of transparency I received a couple of weeks later a letter from 43-44 coaches saying thank you for the leadership we have ... the coaches are happy we have a change.”

Please clarify whether the letter you are referring to in this statement is the attached letter dated August 28, 2012, that is signed by 45 coaches at the University of Hawai‘i? In addition, please specifically point out where in the letter it states that coaches remarked to you “thank you for the leadership we have . . . the coaches are happy we have a change” as you stated in your testimony to the Committee.”

UHM Chancellor Apple’s response:

The letter you attached to your email is, indeed, the letter to which I was referring. In the first paragraph (see letter that follows), the coaches ask that the person whom I appointed as Interim Athletic Director be made permanent in this position. In the second paragraph the coaches describe their reasons for making this request: they respect and support him. They see in him ‘vision, decisiveness, and positive attitude’ and they describe these qualities as ‘exactly what is necessary for our department’. They sum up by mentioning that his ‘local and national reputation also enhances our position as we pursue our goals and dreams’. Taken as a whole, I interpreted them to mean that they appreciated the leadership of the person whom I had appointed to the Interim Athletic Director position, and that they were happy about his being there. I may be wrong, but I thought I stated in my testimony before your committee that it was my opinion that the coaches who signed the letter wouldn’t have appeared so overwhelmingly supportive of the Interim AD if there had been significant support of the previous AD. As I was paraphrasing rather than quoting verbatim from the letter, I was relying on my recollection of it, and, therefore on the impression it had left on me.

Letter from UHM Athletic Department Coaches:

“To: Chancellor Tom Apple

CC: President M.R.C. Greenwood Regent Eric Martinson

From: Athletic Department Coaches

We, the undersigned coaching staff at the University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa, ask that you consider immediately appointing Dr. Rockne Freitas as our Athletic Director. Dr. Freitas has gained our respect and support in the short period of time that he has been our leader. His vision, decisiveness, and positive attitude is exactly what is necessary for our department. His local and national reputation also enhances our position as we pursue our goals and dreams. Thank you for your consideration to this matter.”

Senator Kim’s Letter of October 6, 2012:

“2. In response to the Committee’s inquiry regarding whether or not you knew on the 22nd that you did not want James Donovan to continue as Athletic Director you stated: “I don’t know that I knew that on the 22nd. It was really after this sort started to blow up that I went and talked to more people in athletics about that time. So it’s more the 9th.” However, in President M.R.C. Greenwood’s letter to the University of Hawai‘i ‘Ohana she stated the following:

“Let me recap a few key facts:

… and almost coincidentally, UH Mānoa administration had determined that after 4 ½ years of a 5-year agreement, it was time to search for a new Director of Athletics. Plans for the process and timetable for this action would have commenced regardless of the concert cancellation and ensuing investigation. The discussions regarding this personnel decision were in the early stages and not yet public, but the attention of campus leadership had already turned to the recruitment process.

Unfortunately these two separate issues collided and became entangled in the public’s perceptions. Personnel actions related to the future of the Athletic Department are not a result of nor derived from the investigation over the concert, and the two events should not have become so connected the way that they have.”

Given that President Greenwood’s letter is in writing and submitted to the University of Hawai‘i ‘Ohana on August 21, 2012, it appears that President Greenwood’s decision to search for a new Athletic Director was clear and very specific as to the timing of the decision to search for a new Athletic Director. Essentially, it appears to the Committee that President Greenwood’s decision to search for a new Athletic Director was made early on and that it was not the result of, nor derived from, the fallout of the failed Stevie Wonder Benefit Concert. Thus, the Committee is confused and seeking written clarification of the statement you made at the Informational Briefing on October 2, 2012, that your decision to not keep James Donovan as Athletic Director occurred “more [around] the 9th.”

UHM Chancellor Apple’s response:

The best person to ask for clarification about President Greenwood’s letter regarding the extension of Mr. Donovan’s contract as Athletic Director is President Greenwood. It was my understanding when I first arrived on campus, that requests for 3- and 5- year extensions of Mr. Donovan’s contract had not been approved and that the decision of who would be AD moving forward from March 2013 was mine. By June 22nd, I had not had any in-depth discussion with or about the Athletic Department. When the concert was cancelled, I began to speak with people to get a better understanding of the inner workings of the Athletic Department. This was around July 9th. Based on the information I gathered, I made the decision not to return Mr. Donovan to his position as AD when he came off paid leave. Please note that this is not the same thing as the decision which had already been made not to accept the proposed extensions of his contract beyond March, 2013.

Sincerely,
Tom Apple Chancellor

---30---

LINK: Scribd Version of Letter

Totally Related: Senate Accountability for Everybody Except Rockne Freitas

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