Lately the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s finances have garnered a lot of attention as faculty members, students and the public speculate about the firing of Chancellor Tom Apple and its connection with his directive to freeze all hiring in an effort to stop the budget bleeding.

Talk about the budget has gotten especially heated as Apple supporters and others scrutinize the university’s Cancer Center, a research unit administratively attached to UH Manoa that’s been criticized for its divisive leadership and alleged over-reliance on students’ tuition money.

In a recent letter, Apple primarily blamed his demise on the Cancer Center and his unsuccessful attempts to remove its director, Michele Carbone, and restrict its spending. Apple said he took a range of measures to deal with the campus’s financial shortfalls.

New UH Manoa students on a walking tour of the campus Thursday.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

But some people say the Cancer Center and Carbone are being scapegoated.

“It’s a result of people connecting dots that don’t actually connect that way,” said Board of Regents Chairman Randy Moore in a recent interview with Civil Beat. 

Either way, the beginning of a new school year is a good time to analyze how money flows into, around and out of UH Manoa. Conversations with a range of key stakeholders — including Moore, UH faculty union Executive Director J.N. Musto and university Budget Director Laurel Johnston — reveal that even the insiders lack clarity as to how cash works its way through the school. 

“The whole thing at Manoa caught everyone off-guard. That’s the puzzle.” — Budget Director Laurel Johnston

“The university budget was always this

Loading Money 101: The State of Fiscal Affairs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

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