The budget meltdown and administrative shakeup at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus have been very much in the news, but I doubt most people understand just how delicate — to use a polite euphemism — the immediate situation is in the wake of Chancellor Tom Apple’s imposition of an indefinite hiring freeze and the subsequent swirling rumors of his likely administrative demise.
The practical problems created by the abrupt hiring freeze are dramatic and carry heavy downside risk for the campus.
In just over two weeks, thousands of incoming students, including freshmen starting their college careers and students transferring from other universities, as well as continuing students attempting to make course changes, will be lining up to register for fall semester classes.
They begin registration on August 13, with classes set to begin on August 25. But as of today, programs across the campus simply don’t know whether classes scheduled to be taught by lecturers, graduate assistants, temporary faculty, and others will fall victim to the hiring freeze. And no one seems to know whether these decisions will all be made before registration starts.
Uncertainty prevails, and the potential outcomes appear to range from unpleasantness to chaos, both for teachers caught up in the freeze and for students cast adrift by probable class cancellations.
Department and college-level administrators have been told the hiring freeze applies to any faculty, as well as to lecturers, graduate assistants, and even student workers, if their hiring paperwork hadn’t been completed prior to July 15.
“Importantly, the hiring freeze is a HARD freeze, and …