A response to the public comments made by JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges, Interim Mānoa Chancellor Robert Bley‐Vroman and State Senator Josh Green regarding the resignation of Michele Carbone, former director of the UH Cancer Center
After six years, Dr. Michele Carbone has stepped down as director of the UH Cancer Center (UHCC). It is customary to make complimentary remarks about an outgoing administrator, and Dean Hedges, Interim Chancellor Bley‐Vroman and State Senator Green appear to be following that tradition in kindness to Dr. Carbone. However, I Mua Mānoa believes that in order to move forward, it is important to correct misstatements of fact.
CLAIM: Dr. Carbone is credited with overseeing great progress made at the UHCC.
FACT1: As director, Dr. Carbone leaves the UHCC in much worse shape than he found it. The UHCC now has fewer grants, fewer funded investigators, fewer competitive programs and a pending $9M/year deficit.
FACT2: Dr. Carbone was presented with unprecedented resources to grow the UHCC ($16‐19 million in cigarette tax money annually). What specific program or growth has been achieved since the 2012 renewal of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation? The UH administration has failed to evaluate the director’s performance.
CLAIM: Dr. Carbone is credited with re‐attaining the NCI designation of the UHCC.
FACT: The UHCC has never lost the NCI designation since 1996.
CLAIM: Dr. Carbone is credited with construction of the new Cancer Center building.
FACT: The funds for the building and the architectural plan for almost twice the current building’s working space were put in place by former director Dr. Carl‐Wilhelm Vogel. UH paid $2.5M in settlement to Townsend Capital after the initial contract with the developer was dropped following Carbone’s appointment. Dr. Carbone was successful, however, in eliminating all plans for a clinic in the new building to provide clinical trials directly as was envisioned by Dr. Vogel, which would have benefited many of Hawaiʻi’s cancer patients but was very much opposed by some local hospitals. As a result, no patients are being treated in the Kakaʻako Cancer Center.
CLAIM: Dr. Carbone is credited with having achieved much during a period that began with embattlement of Cancer Center employees and faculty members.
FACT: Before Dr. Carbone’s directorship, UHCC was a place where faculty were working very well together and with other units. Dr. Carbone leaves the directorship with a record of over 30 grievances filed against him and his leadership team, ranging from hostile workplace environment to academic freedom violations.
We ask the UH administration to take actions to correct the hostile work environment created by Dr. Carbone and his leadership team. We call for a search for a new director that is rapid, transparent and inclusive, so as not to repeat the faulty selection process carried out 6 years ago. The UHCC is a tremendous resource, and can recover from this trying period only if the University acts in good faith to establish transparency, consensus‐building, ethical behavior, and appropriate scientific review as guiding principles in an effort to rebuild trust and an atmosphere of excellence.
I Mua Mānoa
I Mua Mānoa (IMM) is a collective of over 120 dedicated students, faculty, and staff determined to improve the quality of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). We volunteer our skills, knowledge, and time to develop a shared campus government, which is transparent and ethical in its operations. We strive to develop a positive campus community where the concerns of the students, faculty, and administration are addressed equally and fairly.
Visit us at http://imuamanoa.org
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Contacts: Adrian Franke (Cancer Center)
Marguerite Butler (I Mua Mānoa)