Friday, July 9, 1999

Accreditation report
leads to departure
of UH regent

The regent's advocacy for his
home island may have threatened
UH's autonomy

By Pat Omandam and Mike Yuen


Gov. Ben Cayetano says he did not reappoint a University of Hawaii regent because of concerns expressed in a recent accreditation report.

That report released last month by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges cited concern over issues of governance and administrative structures, including the roles of regents outside formal board action.

The governor yesterday did not specifically name the regent in question, but said the person's term on the board expired recently and that he appointed him to the state Land Use Commission.

Big Island attorney Stanley H. Roehrig's term as regent expired June 30, and he is the newest member of the Land Use Commission.

Roehrig could not be reached for comment last night.

Cayetano told reporters he made it clear that when he appoints regents they are not advocates for any kind of geographical area. While a regent cannot help but keep in mind the needs of their particular islands, a regent is a regent for the entire state, he said.

"In this particular case, this regent was very zealous in terms of doing what he thought was best for his island," Cayetano said.

"I think the regent tried to influence the hiring of the chancellor and different staff people or capital improvements for the university in his particular area," he said.

According to the WASC accreditation visit team report, a member of the UH Board of Regents stated that in the past another regent may have acted independently of the board advocating on behalf of his geographical area.

"This regent apparently went so far as to threaten the job of a UHM (Manoa) senior administrator if that administrator did not do the regent's individual geography-based bidding," the team report stated.

"Continued behavior of this nature unequivocally threatens the accreditation at UHM."

Given the geographical requirement for regents' appointments, the report said some people seem to consider such occasional indiscretions as inevitable, but that unfortunately should not be the case. Rather, regents should be experts on their geographical area not political advocates for their hometowns.

As board members, they must finally rise above parochial desires and intentions and act as one board for the good of the whole, the report said.

Cayetano said he felt a better place for the former regent was on the Land Use Commission, which tackles much broader issues.

The governor said regents and UH administration have not made it very clear on how they are setting their priorities and that the accreditation report's criticism about the university was appropriate.

For example, Cayetano believes UH President Kenneth P. Mortimer should just announce what he plans to do with the school of public health for the simple reason that the university has to restructure just as the rest of state government is doing.

Despite his concerns, Cayetano said he won't intervene because it'll "make a mockery out of autonomy if every time the university has a problem we jump into it and start to dictate what's going on."

Ka Leo O Hawaii

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin