No charges filed in UH thefts
Officials investigated student housing workers accused of stealing copper gutters from a dorm
University of Hawaii officials investigated, but apparently did not file criminal charges against, student housing employees who allegedly took and sold copper gutters at Frear Hall before the building was torn down in June.
In an e-mail to Associated Students of the University of Hawaii President Grant Teichman, Wayne Iwaoka, outgoing interim vice chancellor for student services, confirmed that the university investigated employees accused of taking the copper gutters.
"The investigation indicated that some copper was removed, and appropriate action was taken with the employee(s) involved," Iwaoka wrote in an e-mail on Thursday.
But Iwaoka said because the case is considered a personnel matter, he could not say what happened to the employee or employees.
In a short interview yesterday, Iwaoka said the incident "was not a theft per se," but he would not say anything further about the incident.
Teichman said other student housing employees, who wanted to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution, told ASUH that two student-housing workers stole the copper and sold it for $3,000 to a scrap metal dealer.
"They were concerned that this was a really bad example for students," Teichman said.
Teichman reported the alleged theft to Iwaoka on June 20, the day after the university held a blessing ceremony for the project to tear down the old Frear Hall and replace it with an 810-bed dormitory.
The allegations came as state Auditor Marion Higa began an audit of the UH-Manoa student housing office that is expected to be finished in December.
The allegations also surfaced as the housing office is preparing to increase housing fees next year and as the university is considering having a private company, rather than the housing office, manage the new Frear Hall dorm.
The Legislature authorized an audit of the student housing office after students and student government officers told lawmakers that a hall director and a resident adviser in two dorms rented out rooms to students without authorization and pocketed the rent checks.
The students also testified about alleged abuses and intimidation by housing officials.
Teichman said when student government officials complained about the unauthorized renting of dorm rooms, UH administrators also did not file criminal charges, and because the issue was considered a personnel matter, no information was released about it.
"It seems to be the normal response we get," Teichman said. "We really don't know how these cases are closed."