Faculty Doesn't Buy Into Plan to Resolve UH Cancer Center Crisis

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

A new plan to calm a broadening controversy at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center won't solve the main problems, according to least a half-dozen faculty members who have spoken out, written letters or filed complaints with the university.

Michele Carbone, who was made director of the center in 2009 after he worked in various other roles there, is portrayed by some of the vocal faculty members as an iron-fist leader who has violated their academic freedom, prompted the departure of well-respected researchers and only hired people who he knows will back him. A number of faculty members have said his leadership has eroded morale within the center and damaged its international reputation. They argue that the dysfunctions could even pose a threat to outside funding and, ultimately, to public health in the state.

Carbone has not responded to a Civil Beat request for comment.

The new plan, unveiled by university officials at a meeting Thursday, does nothing to remove Carbone and it is not very convincing to many of his critics.

“If you sense any frustration on our part ... it’s only because we’ve been working assiduously through the system, and (this plan) might not mean any change for us,” testified Lynne Wilkens, an epidemiology specialist who helps oversee biostatistics and informatics at the center.

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