Senators seek local choice for UH post


POSTED: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Six state senators are asking the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to delay the selection of a new UH president and include “;a native son or daughter of Hawaii”; on the list of possible candidates.

In the letter sent to Board of Regents Chairman Allan Landon today, the senators said no other decision by the board “;will have as profound an effect on the future of the University of Hawaii as the choice before you now.”;

The regents are meeting today to discuss, for the first time, the two finalists for the position. The Advisory Presidential Selection Committee is scheduled to brief the regents.

The finalists are M.R.C. Greenwood, 66, director of the Foods for Health Initiative at the University of California, Davis, and Robert J. Jones, 57, senior vice president for system administration for the University of Minnesota.

Yesterday, Landon, who had not seen the letter, said, “;We look forward to the report from the committee and any public input.”;

In interviews earlier this month, Landon and Donna Tanoue, chairwoman of the selection committee, said the committee recruited local candidates.

“;We went out of our way to make sure there were people from Hawaii,”; Landon said. “;We wanted them to apply.”;

In the end, Tanoue said the committee tried to recommend the best overall candidates and did not focus “;on any one attribute or characteristic whether it's geographic or gender.”;

The senators signing the letter were Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa-North Shore ), Carol Fukunaga (D, Lower Makiki-Punchbowl), Suzanne Chun Oakland (D, Kalihi-Liliha), Clayton Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe), Will Espero (D, Ewa-Ewa Beach-Kapolei) and Brickwood Galuteria (D, Downtown-Waikiki).