Senate Hearings on UH: What Did We Learn?

UPDATED 3:45 p.m.

The special Hawaii Senate hearings into the University of Hawaii following a botched Stevie Wonder benefit concert clocked in at seven and a half hours ending late Tuesday.

That's equal to the amount of time the UH Board of Regents spent in executive session Aug. 22 to discuss what to do in the aftermath.

The difference between the Senate committee and the regents meeting, of course, is that the former was broadcast and streamed live across the state while the latter was held behind closed doors.

Which leads to perhaps the greatest takeaway from the whole business: that transparency and accountability matter.

There was news that came out of Tuesday's hearing:

• Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple said nobody he talked to wanted to keep Jim Donovan as athletic director — apparently including some coaches — and the concert debacle was a factor in his demotion to brand marketing.

• Donovan's dismissal probably should have received board approval, according to regent Coralie Matayoshi.

• The cost of the whole mess is $1.13 million and rising.

• A waiver was made so that the wiring of $200,000 from the UH to the alleged concert promoter didn't have to wait the customary two days.

• A number of different people at UH had a hand in the wiring, not just one.

The hearings have wrapped, though some lawmakers said they wanted to hear from the regents general counsel and the public-relations firms advising the school.

Chair Donna Mercado Kim left open the possibility that her committee could reconvene — with subpoena power — when the Legislature is in session. And who knows what the FBI will turn up once it completes its investigation?

For now, here's a few of the lessons Hawaii has learned from the so-called Wonder blunder.

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