It doesn’t require multiple advanced degrees to conclude that UH has been stalled in troubled waters for far too long.

A good place to start a recitation of the university’s woes is with President Evan Dobelle, a gifted grifter who seemed to bathe in snake oil. At the university, Dobelle gained a national reputation for his frequent financial indiscretions, including billing for lavish personal expenses. Rather than being booted out the door, he agreed to leave — and was rewarded with an unholy sum of money and various benefits. As a result of this kind of treatment, Dobelle was enabled to peddle his trademark skullduggery at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts.

Frank Wiercinski is one of two finalists for the presidency of the University of Hawaii.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Sadly, at least for him, this was cut short when Dobelle ran face-first into the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General. The inspector general found President Dobelle enjoyed lavish dinners, milking university and foundation funds, charging his own expenses to the university and using credit cards for personal pleasures.

Then there was the Wonder Blunder. In an impressive absence of due diligence UH plowed head-on into disaster without consulting Tom Moffat, who is considered by many to be the greatest concert promoter in the history of Hawaii. In fact, Tom had actually presented Stevie Wonder at Aloha Stadium.

This mistake was compounded when UH President MRC Greenwood, after being put to task, over the Wonder Blunder, tendered an offer to resign with a $2 million price tag and the threat of a lawsuit. Happily calmer heads prevailed and, after a much-appreciated apology by MRC, she completed her term. Fortunately, she will continue her pioneering scientific work in the areas of obesity and diabetes.


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