Admin issues top UH complaints
A report cites student troubles with housing and registration
About half of the more than 350 cases that the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Ombuds Office handled in its first year involved students with complaints about registration, housing and other problems with the administration, according to a report from the Ombuds Office.
Most complaints involved multiple issues, according to an eight-page report that analyzed the cases between August 2006 and August 2007.
Other common issues involved advising, employment and conflicts between people, including allegations of incivility and intimidation.
The report says morale at the university needs attention.
"There is a persistent cynicism about the way UHM (UH-Manoa) does its business and a sense that 'Manoa will never change,'" according to the report.
"I think it's both perception and reality," said Neal Milner, the head ombuds officer, who added it will take some effort to change the perception.
"It's not just about fixing a building. It's showing the public that the university can solve problems that have been around for a long time."
Some of the problems that come to his office could have been solved with common courtesy, such as returning phone calls and following up with answers when someone asked a question, Milner said.
Other interpersonal problems are more complex and difficult to solve, Miner said.
The report cited problems between faculty and graduate research assistants and postdoctoral fellows, and recommends colleagues and department chairmen act on behalf of students, if needed.
Other problems involved long-running disputes between people who have to work together but cannot stand each other, he said.
In many cases it is not possible to separate people, Milner said, so people are given the option of going to mediation or conflict resolution or having department chairmen step in.
The Ombuds Office is also planning a workshop this spring on incivility and bullying.
The 2006-07 report is available online at www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ombuds.