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July 13, 2003


Authors of ‘Dangerous Equations’ exposé on UH money crisis launch DangerousEquations.com Web site; Site includes extensive footnotes for original piece published July 6 in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Authors of ‘Dangerous Equations’ exposé on UH money crisis launch DangerousEquations.com Web site

Site includes extensive footnotes for original piece published July 6 in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin

HONOLULU – The authors of “Dangerous Equations: University of Hawaii's Money Crisis” – an exposé published July 6 in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin – today announced the launch of DangerousEquations.com, a Web site that includes extensive footnotes on the facts and sources of the data used in the piece.

Authors Dr. Amy Agbayani, state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, Dr. Ralph Moberly and state Rep. K. Mark Takai wrote “Dangerous Equations” to detail how President Evan Dobelle has run UH’s finances into the red with huge pay raises and empty promises.

Since its publication, reaction to “Dangerous Equations” has been extremely positive. The detailed footnotes documented on the site will help the many readers who inquired about the sources of the information presented in the exposé.

DangerousEquations.com will also later feature responses and comments on the piece from other concerned citizens.


Posted by keithk at July 13, 2003 11:15 AM


Posted by Joy on July 6, 2003 5:14 PM:

It's shocking to read about the financial state of the UH system. As a UHM alumni, I take great interest in reading about my alma mater. And as someone who currently works for a university on the mainland and does budgets, this editorial is of more interest to me. I admit that salaries always seem to go up and well, everything else suffers. But to read about how salaries increase 100 and 200 percent is ridiculous. How do these people help the UH system exactly and why would it take that much money to pay them? President Dobelle seems to be using the UH system as his own personal pocketbook to help his friends out. Isn't there a nepotism policy concerning hiring personal friends? Unless something is seriously done and soon, it will be too late to save the UH system. I can tell you that's why many of the island's students end up here instead of stay home.

Posted by Ryan on July 6, 2003 9:23 PM:

Geez. "Broken Trust III" territory. (I'm not surprised but very impressed to see that Amy Agbayani is one of the authors.) I was going to outline the major points, but there were too many of them!

Disappearing federal research funds? Top-level salary increases of over 200 percent? And giving some of 'em a last year off at jacked-up pay to ensure even bigger retirement benefits...

Executive assistants earning more than professors?

And he's still trying to pay for those renovations done to his university-provided house (including, if I recall correctly, a thousand-dollar bird cage), meanwhile having "fundraised" less than a percent of what he promised for scholarships. (Even though he's been spending half his time on the road "raising money.")

Investigative writer Ian Lind was quick to point out the smell of cronyism as it came up in Dobelle's appointments, but I had no idea it had gotten so bad.

If I were still a student there, I'd be planning major protest action right about now...

Posted by kane on July 7, 2003 8:53 PM:

Dobelle and his buddies have smelled bad from day one. Similar reports of financial wrongdoings have been made of this crew.

I find it ironic that Paul Costello was quoted in the StarBulletin as saying, "Life is not all about income..."

Where have we heard that before, and where do they find these people?

Posted by ali on July 9, 2003 7:06 PM:

It's disgusting and it makes my blood boil. How many people are no longer able to afford an education because of the drastic hikes in tuition? And how are these people able to get away with (essentially) stealing the higher education of Hawai`i? Why was this allowed to go on for so long before coming to the public's attention?

Posted by ruth on July 10, 2003 10:23 AM:

When Dobelle first came onto the scene, people balked at his inflated salary, but after digesting it all, I really think a good part of the Hawaii community was willing to see whether the investment would pay off.

What the UH system needed was someone competent to the hilt with aloha running through his veins.

What we ended up getting was a flashy man with no substance who obviously could care less about the people who first welcomed him.

I feel betrayed.

Posted by Madnamo on July 10, 2003 12:27 PM:

Me too. I would have called the essay: "The Sum of All Fears." But that's just me.

Posted by Drew on July 10, 2003 12:47 PM:

As a student, I can say that the saddest thing about the University is that the students and professors care. Yet these Deans and various administrators don't. The current Dean of Students (Cambra) is a burearucrat that has not one care for the students. Rather than help students, they aim to make it insanely difficult to graduate.

Further the dissent between professors and administrators is creating a real rift at UH. Top-notch professors are leaving the UH system and bureaucratic administrators are being solicited. In my years at UH (and through my discussions with various professors) there has been a common complaint. That Deans are power mongers. Deans will reallocate research money that professors fight hard to recieve, not to the benefit of anyone other than themselves.

Poor Chancellor Englert, he has been trying to clean up the system and what happens? Those fearful that their gravy-train is coming to an end, start circulating an anonymous 'no-confidence memo'. This needs to stop. STUDENTS need to be put first. Not football, not high paid administrators - STUDENTS.

The University has lost sight of the importance of the students. At this rate the University of Hawaii is doomed.

The only people that will suffer are the residents of Hawaii. It seems like Dobelle and his buddies see their time at UH as a good old 'smash and grab'.

Posted by kane on July 10, 2003 2:49 PM:

Dobelle reminds me of former UH Head Football Coach Fred VonAppen and his situation at the Manoa Campus.

Dobelle, like VonAppen, was touted by UH administrators as being a wonderful leader with vast experience and exceptional communication skills.

Despite pleas from the community to hire locally and to seek someone with roots in the islands with an understanding of Hawaii, the Board of Regents insisted the decisions to hire both VonAppen and Dobelle were in the best interest of the University. VonAppen was said to be the ultimate player's coach, while Dobelle was the administrator's administrator. These were the men capable of building (a football team/a university) that would compete with the bigboys.

After being hired, both men came into their positions with a thunderous roar. However, little time passed before it became evident that these individuals did not belong on the UH campus. The fears of the public became reality; the Board of Regents had blown the call.

Eventually, after three long losing seasons in which attendance dropped by nearly 10,000 per home game, VonAppen was dismissed. His final record at UH was 5-31.

Dobelle has done no better.

Posted by Ryan on July 13, 2003 11:46 PM:

Nice update, Keith. (Even though a glance at where it's hosted explains just how you managed to stay on top of the story!) Meanwhile, the Star-Bulletin today printed Dobelle's response, entitled "Embracing hope."

Here's the Honolulu Advertiser's attempt at playing catch up. Not a single mention of the Star-Bulletin's piece.

I've started a forum thread at hawaiimedia.org for anyone who wants to compare and contrast...

Posted by Ryan on July 15, 2003 8:59 AM:

Psst. Star-Bulletin scribe Burl Burlingame has a few comments in his July 14 update.

Posted by Keith Kamisugi on July 15, 2003 9:18 AM:

Ryan - Thanks for the posting the link to Burl's site. It's a little weird that he accuses the authors of "taking Star-Bulletin content out of context" and then goes on to say that on the other hand, it's not really Star-Bulletin content. He fails to mention that Mark Takai told the editors about the website in advance and they had every opportunity to provide their feedback.

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