by Andrew Walden
Some in the UH Hilo community are shocked and surprised by UH Board of Regents' unanimous May 20 decision selecting Donald O Straney, Dean of Biological Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona, to take the place of UH Hilo's retiring Chancellor Rose Tseng. Others, such as UHPA President AJ Musto, are surprised by the transfer of Rockne Freitas to head up UH's legislative lobbying as UH Vice President of student affairs and university and community relations.
They shouldn't be.
Unlike other University Presidents who stupidly view their job in intellectual terms or focus on fundraising and academic program development, UH System President MRC Greenwood uses her position to keep the university's competing factions in check and enhance her grip on power all in the name of 'diversity.' She was hand-picked by Dan Inouye for exactly this purpose. It is precisely her connection to a $871M UC payroll-padding scandal which marked her as ideal for the UH top job.
Under former system President David McClain, UH Manoa activists came within a hair's breadth of killing Senator Dan Inouye's UARC Navy research program. Activists did extensive damage to agriculture-related genetic research on campus and threatened Hawaii's seed industry. Their next target was Dan Inouye's $1 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) planned for Mauna Kea. The UH system's difficulty in repelling these attacks signaled the end of the line for the numbingly diffuse policy of "creative ambiguity" which had characterized all UH administration since the 1968 resignation of Thomas Hamilton.
Inouye needed an enforcer, someone who could bring to heel the University's ravenous packs of wildly posturing professors. MRC Greenwood's University of California escapades mark her as exactly the right person for the job.
With this understanding, it becomes an obvious move to tap Lokelani Lindsey's Kamehameha School enforcer Rockne Freitas to become UH's legislative arm twister. After being tucked away in Hilo as Chancellor of Hawaii Community College, this will place Freitas back in the center of Hawaii power politics. It is precisely his "Broken Trust" experience which marks Freitas as a perfect fit for Greenwood's team. As explained in Broken Trust (p111):
The teachers viewed Freitas as Lindsey's agent, someone who would do what she wanted done without hesitation or complaint. A short time spent working with him convinced them they could not take him seriously as an educator. Once, during a meeting to discuss the curriculum, teachers contended that changes were needed to get students to think more critically and communicate more effectively. Freitas reportedly pointed to statistics showing that more than three out of four Kamehameha graduates were going on to four year colleges and asked, "If a kid gets into college, what do we care if he can write effectively?" At first the teachers thought he was joking. Then they realized he wasn't.
Freitas' appointment drew a reaction from UHPA President AJ Musto. According to the Star-Bulletin May 21:
J.N. Musto, executive director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, told the regents that Freitas is a friend and has done a good job at HCC. But Musto expressed concern about the expansion of UH administrators and said it was his understanding that Freitas' position was going to remain unfilled.
Perhaps Musto is feigning surprise. But just in case he isn't, a Greenwood refresher course is in order. From San Francisco Magazine:
Nine days after Greenwood’s resignation on November 4 (2005), the (SF)Chronicle finally began publishing a series of stories that (UC System President Robert) Dynes had tried to get ahead of. Starting with the stunning fact that 8,500 staffers had collected at least $20,000 each in unreported bonuses and extra pay in the previous year, (Chronicle reporters) Schevitz and Wallack methodically cracked open a secret culture of executive compensation more widespread than anyone could have imagined. At the heart of the series was a blockbuster number Wallack had teased out of payroll data. According to his calculations, $871 million had been “quietly handed out” in “administrative stipends, bonuses, and other hidden cash compensation.” There was a veritable canyon between UC’s reported salaries (plus overtime) and the total payroll.
The tone was dramatic and indignant, referring to staffers “pulling down” bonuses and “an impressive array” of perks, from separation pacts and low-interest home loans to “free mansions for people of means.” Greenwood’s 15-month paid leave (after which she was planning to return to her tenured post at UC Davis) was called out. Davis head Larry Vanderhoef was exposed for offering a secret separation agreement to a vice chancellor, and UCSF medical school dean David Kessler for getting a litany of extras above the $540,000 “total compensation” UC publicly reported....
To take over a University system and bring it to heel, one must make payments--and threats. Although some at UH may feel their projects would be at risk if they spoke out, Greenwood's history at UC shows too much "plata" and not enough "plombo." As one UH donor pointed out: "We can't afford Greenwood's expensive habits."
Anyone with a copy of "Broken Trust" can study Freitas . But the special qualifications of Greenwood's other appointment, Donald O Straney, the Dean of the College of Science at Cal Poly Pomona, require more digging. According to his CV, Straney has only published a lab manual and two "non-refereed, collaborative" articles since 1992. In academia the mantra is "publish or die"--so why does Straney have a career? Straney is a "diversicrat"--a particular habitué of academia whose career is built largely through the manipulation of diversity programs. In fact he helped invent homosexuals as an identity group which could then make demands for "representation" in the name of "diversity".
In contrast, Dr John Pezzuto, the candidate backed by many from the UH Hilo community, was recruited in 2006 away from his position as Dean of Perdue University's College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences to found the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy and build it from the ground up. According to his resume, Pezzuto has published over 500 manuscripts and has been "continuously funded by the National institutes of Health since 1977." But Universities are the realm of mind-numbing political correctness and those kind of academic credentials just don't stand a chance against an empire-building diversicrat. Even worse, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports:
"Pezzutto said Wednesday that while the news that he had not been selected was a blow, he would work to support the new chancellor.
"'I was delighted with the support that I received from the community, the faculty, staff and the students,' he said.
"'I was obviously disappointed in the final decision, but the president has made her decision, and I will trust in God that that was a good decision.'"
Did he just say "God"? No wonder Pezzutto never had a chance with the Greenwood gang.
Between 1969 and 1990, Donald Straney's CV shows he published 23 articles and chapters of books. Most are academic titles such as his 1969 look at "Operant conditioning in the Mongolian Gerbil." But in 1992 he found his ticket off the "publish-or-die" treadmill with his co-authorship of "Moving Forward: Lesbians and Gay Men at Michigan State University."
The 68-page "Moving Forward" document is a guide for real or self-styled homosexuals to use 'diversity' programs to gain power within the University. Without such a crypto-Hellenistic approach, many white male and female academics like Straney would have been left without the 'oppression' cred necessary to climb the ladder in post-1960s academia. There's a lot of gratitude out there.
Akamai readers will remember that MRC Greenwood had been Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz before moving up to Provost of the UC System. When she moved up, Greenwood's hand-picked successor was described by the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
...(New UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice) Denton turned her UC Santa Cruz investiture ceremony into a two-day marathon on the theme of " Achieving Excellence Through Diversity" which featured "inspiration and perspectives from Angela Davis, Professor, History of Consciousness".
Denton's Inaugural Address sounded almost like self-parody: "What is diversity? I believe that diversity encompasses ethnicity, race, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, culture, religion, academic discipline, class, ability/disability, nation of origin, diversity of perspective, age, socioeconomic status, and any other aspect of difference that characterizes humanity."
Yet, being a fiery leftist didn't stop Denton from cashing in....
The Sentinel's headline read: "Diversity Is Strength! It's Also… A "Powerful Coterie" Of Larcenous Lesbians." It certainly helps facilitate the "larceny" to have a built in chorus of politically-correct automatons who start whining about "homophobia" whenever conflict of interest issues pop up. In academia, being gay is an advantage, not a disadvantage.
The May 20 appointments show that Greenwood is broadening her horizons at UH. After exhaustive investigation, Hawai`i Free Press has concluded that neither Mr. Frietas nor Mr. Straney is a lesbian.
In his April 7 letter to Greenwood's San Francisco headhunter, Regan Gough, Straney explains:
"I took a leadership role within the lesbian, bi, gay, and transgendered community on campus as it emerged into a public and active campus presence. While this work presented political challenges, it was very rewarding to help a community find its confidence and build respect at different levels."
Rewarding it was! From that point on, there were no more Mongolian Gerbils for Straney. From 1993 to 2002 he was constantly a member of one "diversity" panel or another at the University of Michigan, where he spent 23 years before heading for Cal Poly Pomona. The term "women and minorities" suddenly begins to pop up in his CV. Among Straney's achievements at Cal Poly Pomona:
"Assisted faculty in hiring a significant number of women and underrepresented minorities as faculty members and college leaders."
The key phrase is "hiring a significant number". Only by bringing in lots of new people can a President or Chancellor grab control of a University System.
At Cal Poly, Straney led in organizing the Cal Poly Advance program which openly promoted a "PARTNER REFERRAL/PLACEMENT PROGRAM-Supporting efforts to hire dual career couples at our institution"
The advantage of being gay is that gay partners are often not legally documented. Lowly "breeders" would face conflict of interest issues if they hired their spouse for $192,000 a year--but hire your gay lover and maybe nobody can (or will) prove a thing--even when the entire campus knows the score.
Nonetheless, it was "partner referral" that got Greenwood booted out of her cushy Provost gig at UC System HQ in Oakland. From the SF Chronicle November 5, 2005:
The University of California's second-in-command, Provost M.R.C. Greenwood, abruptly resigned Friday, and another senior administrator was placed on leave after the college system launched an investigation into possible favoritism in hiring.
University officials said the conflict-of-interest inquiry had been opened after The Chronicle, in the course of researching an article, posed questions about the hiring of two people with ties to Greenwood -- her son as well as a friend with whom she owned rental property.
According to UC President Robert Dynes, the university is investigating the possibility of impropriety in Greenwood's decision last year to promote her friend, UC Santa Cruz Vice Provost Lynda Goff, to jobs at UC's headquarters in Oakland. Goff, 56, was first hired as a faculty associate and then as director of UC's new science and math initiative, which carries a salary of $192,100. In addition to being friends, Greenwood and Goff owned rental property together in Davis at the time.
"It appears that Provost Greenwood may have been involved in Dr. Goff's hiring to a greater extent than was appropriate, given her business relationship with Dr. Goff,'' said Dynes in a written statement.
"Partner referral" (and another $192K salary) is also a key element of the story Tanya Schevitz reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 2005 on how Greenwood's replacement Denton worked the system:
"The University of California has quietly created a new $192,000 management position for the longtime partner of the incoming chancellor at UC Santa Cruz.
"Gretchen Kalonji … has been hired as director of international strategy development in the UC Office of the President in Oakland…
"According to UC President Robert Dynes, Kalonji's hiring was part of the recruitment package offered to her partner of seven years, Denice Dee Denton, an engineer who was appointed last December as the new chancellor of UC Santa Cruz. Denton will start in February and will receive a salary of $275,000 and a moving allowance of $68,750.
"In addition to Kalonji's $192,000 annual salary, UC will provide her with the usual faculty housing assistance allowance of up to $50,000 to help with her transition to California and UC and pay her moving expenses. It is a substantial increase from her $134,424 salary at the University of Washington …"
Denton then had the university spend lavishly on the home provided for her. The Chronicle June 24, 2006 reported:
"Before she moved into her university-provided house on campus in 2005, (Denton) asked for dozens of improvements -- everything from a new fence for her dogs to new wiring, speakers, amplifier and CD player for a built-in sound system, according to university documents. In all, a $600,000 upgrade was made to the home, though it is not clear how many of the improvements were at Denton's request."
The dog run for her two border collies cost $30,000.
Denton committed suicide in June, 2006 by leaping from the downtown San Francisco apartment of her lover Kalonji who had gone to give a speech on the East Coast while Denton had been treated for depression at a San Francisco psychiatric hospital. A year later, Kalonji sued Denton's estate for $2.25M because Denton named her siblings, not Kalonji, in her will and did not name anybody on her life insurance policy.
Did Greenwood learn anything from this? San Francisco Magazine March, 2007:
Last September (2006), M.R.C. Greenwood, the affable, 63-year-old former provost of the University of California, stood before a group of 70 top UC female faculty and administrators in the Lange Room of the UCSF library. Her presentation would be on a topic she knew as well as anyone: gender issues in academia.
The audience comprised women for whom Greenwood was a legendary, controversial figure. Ten years before, she’d warned that women and minority scientists trying to crack academia were “dancing with wolves,” but she herself had enjoyed a stellar career and had eventually been appointed by UC president Robert Dynes as his right-hand woman and UC’s highest-ranked female figure ever. In her private life, though, Greenwood was a frustrating enigma to many. She’d been living with a woman for decades, and together they had raised three children from both their previous marriages. Yet she steadfastly refused to define her sexuality; as a biologist, she found such labels overly simplistic. (Read those last three sentences again very slowly.)
Greenwood projected the first slide of her presentation on the wall behind her. About a year before, the San Francisco Chronicle had learned that Greenwood had hired a close woman friend at UC, Lynda Goff, despite having a business tie with her, and Dynes, under the cloud of a brewing scandal about hidden executive compensation, had ignominiously pushed Greenwood out. But her first slide did not refer to any of this personal history; instead, Greenwood showed a photograph of a large, round-faced woman with wildly curly brown hair and glasses.
The crowd knew the woman in the picture. It was Denice Denton, the first openly gay UC chancellor, who had followed Greenwood as the head of UC Santa Cruz. Greenwood didn’t have to tell this group what had happened to Denton, or to herself. She just looked out into the audience and repeated her warning of so long ago. “The wolves are still circling,” she said.
That is a Mohammadean-style self-referential and self-reinforcing belief which excuses anything and everything in the name of self-defense from 'circling wolves'. And as such, it is an expression of weakness, not strength.
At UH, College Hill is undergoing its second $1M renovation for "termite damage" in eight years. Greenwood gets $5000/month "housing allowance" for every month the $1M job is not completed. By comparison, the reviled Evan Dobelle (another Dan Inouye pick) was a piker who sold himself short when he foolishly settled for a free Waikiki apartment while $1M in termite-related renovation work was being done back in 2001. But then Dobelle lacked Greenwood's 'diversity' cred.
From the SF Chronicle November 5, 2005:
This is not the first time Greenwood has faced controversy. Some regents objected last year when she was hired as provost with a salary of $380,000 -- nearly $100,000 more than her predecessor.
At the time, Dynes argued she needed the higher salary to cover the cost of buying a home near UC's headquarters in downtown Oakland. Like other UC chancellors, Greenwood previously received free housing on campus.
In addition, her total compensation turned out to be higher than was publicly announced at the time, The Chronicle has learned. In addition to her salary, UC gave her a $125,000 relocation incentive to move the 70 miles from Santa Cruz to Oakland. That was in addition to $17,950 for temporary housing, $9,527 for moving expenses and a low-interest loan to buy a condo in Oakland.
Greenwood's UH Salary is $475,008--minus 10% due to budget cuts which brings it down to $427,512--plus perks such as her $5000/month housing allowance which brings Greenwood’s known compensation up to $487,512. McClains' salary was a paltry $414,096 and Dobelle's was $442,000. Dobelle, a former DNC Treasurer, was fired in part because of over-spending UH System money. As explained in the July 6, 2003 "Dangerous Equations" essay:
President Dobelle's policies have significantly increased overall administrative costs for the university system despite the Board of Regents' repeated admonitions that such changes shouldn't require more money. A broad administrative reorganization pressed by Dobelle, including new positions and higher administrative salaries, has boosted overall salary costs of the top layer of administrators by more than $4 million annually, while the university is facing severe budget challenges. (The $4 million figure does not include the recent pay hikes for UH-Manoa deans and coaches, including football coach June Jones.)
But of course, Dobelle had basically stopped showing up for work.
For now the biochemical urges which often drive UHM liberal arts professors to suddenly leap to their feet in an orgiastic frenzy of academic leftimania are being kept in check by their own politically correct cowardice--and the fear that their own projects might become unfunded. The telescope is moving forward. But TMT hasn't got to the lawsuit stage yet. And unless Greenwood were willing to defund UH Richardson--a point at which the Legislature would surely step in--she can't stop a PASH suit.
Does anybody really believe that gay diversity mongers can beat the UHM/OHA money grubbing culture hustlers and enviro hustlers out of the development shake down business--if only just this once? Apparently Dan Inouye does--and he and his hand-picked UH Regents are burning millions of dollars on salary and perks in an effort to prove it.
Meanwhile the secret negotiations over HRS 343--launched with an Act 1 of 2008 Legislative grant of $300,000 to UH--have as yet produced nothing.
Same Phenomenon plays itself out in Gubernatorial race: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that