Dozens of University of Hawaii at Manoa students planned to stage a sit-in Thursday morning at the UH president’s office to protest what they figured was the imminent dismissal of Chancellor Tom Apple.
They swore they wouldn’t leave until UH President David Lassner formally pledged that he would retain Apple as head of the university’s flagship campus.
But then something happened late Wednesday afternoon that changed their course a bit: Lassner handed Apple his termination letter, effectively barring the students from having a say in the decision.
The timing, students later said, couldn’t have been more strategic. University executives had long ago made up their mind about Apple and had no intention of giving students an opportunity to chime in, they argued; by giving him the sack before the rally was set to take place, Lassner had an easy way out.
“Everybody feels that we had a quality head of this campus, and frankly I feel like he’s being pushed out by some administrators with a lot of power who have an interest in maintaining their share of resources,” said graduate student Nick Chagnon, referring to widespread speculation that Apple was let go because he challenged the power of certain administrators. “I don’t know why (Lassner) is doing this now, but he’s clearly violating a pledge he made to serve students rather than administrators.”
A few dozen students — along with 15 or so faculty and staff members …
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