Lassner deserves a chance

Letter to the Editor: one UH Mānoa faculty/staff member shares his disappointment over the Mānoa Faculty Senate's vote to censure System President David Lassner.

John Witeck

I was disheartened to read that the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Mānoa Faculty Senate voted 43-16 to censure UH President David Lassner. I have led and been involved in a few sit-ins and protests against past UH Presidents, but I feel Lassner got an undeserved rap. I also witnessed how he sat on the courtyard ground outside the administration building and had a long discussion with students and some faculty upset by Lassner’s removal of Tom Apple as UH Mānoa Chancellor. Lassner replied to them with patience and reserve, despite being the target of some insults, as he shared what he was able to share.

Lassner was censured for allegedly not consulting with students and faculty about Apple’s removal. Since Apple’s removal by his supervisor Lassner was essentially a personnel issue, most of the issues that led to this decision could not be disclosed, nor would consultation have been proper.

Apple was Chancellor for a relatively short period of time and did not have much of a track record. He seemed popular, but perhaps erred in promising more to campus constituencies than could be delivered. 

Lassner has had over four decades of service to the University and has longstanding ties with the community. He has supported many worthwhile projects and causes and is the first longtime Hawaiʻi resident in decades to be appointed to the UH presidency. He deserves a chance to show what he can do. He has already succeeded in raising additional millions in funds for the University. I wish him and the University the best in months and years to come.

John Witeck is a University of Hawaii at Mānoa faculty member and Human Resources Specialist working in the Office of the Chancellor.

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