Think About It: VacUHm-Sealed - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

December 15, 2014

Think About It: VacUHm-Sealed

One of Webster's definitions for "vacuum" is "a state of isolation from outside influences".  While some have defined the on-going problems in UH management as a power vacuum, a more realistic look at things would suggest that the influences in and around UH partially cause the inevitable vacuum we see far too often. UH now has a new president, an interim chancellor and men's basketball coach at Manoa, a lame duck athletics director, a retiring women's volleyball coach who is on the short-list of the best there's ever been, and a football coach who was given a reprieve but remains on the hot seat after just winning 22% of his team's games over the past three years. And don't even start on the melodrama in the UH Cancer Center. Budget cuts in all departments hover over decision-makers at every level at UH. And yet people repeatedly question why things just don't seem to get better.

So what about the influencers- the regents, upper campus professors who see little value in the education one gets while playing sports; what about Bishop Street business gurus and how about a legislature that doesn't see the need to more fully fund athletics or needed building repairs; look at sponsors who threaten to pull support if certain decisions are made or not made? How can anyone fill a supposed vacuum and lead when the followers demand much more than basic accountability in exchange for their support? Those blatantly involved and those in the shadows demand influence in decision-making. It's really hard to be a great leader when you simply can't depend on having good followers. 

So who will replace Ben Jay? Hopefully, a realist who can augment system changes, just like there's hope that some new Board of Regents members and a new UH President can change an entrenched system that rewards longevity and self-preservation without rocking the boat, but rarely applauds pro-active change and uncomfortable role shifts. IF UH wishes to be perceived of as a top academic institution and compete as a viable athletic entity in the decades ahead, somebodies are going to have to step up and lead, the legislature is going to have to creatively fund the programs of worth, and others will have to put their egos aside for the sake of growth and a bold but realistic vision for a 21st century university here. Stasis, entropy, and disappointment are simply not good options. Think about it… 

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