UH Job Cuts Averted After Mercado Review

March 22, 2019, 12:23 PM HST · Updated March 22, 12:23 PM
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Senator Donna Mercado Kim announced that she has completed a review of 121 positions at the University of Hawaiʻi that had been considered for elimination and, based on new information provided by the University, has determined that widespread cuts will not be necessary.

“Our initial review focused on positions that had neither teaching responsibilities nor grant support,” Kim said. “Given that the university’s own policy states that instruction is the university’s highest priority, that was a natural place to start.

“However, we subsequently learned that 99% of the positions that UH initially gave us were positions that included retirements, terminations, leaves without pay, and sabbaticals. In one case, the individual had died. Fifty percent were temporary positions that were 100% federal/grant funded. Thus, all these positions were restored.

“It goes without saying that we would have preferred if the university had provided this critical information at the outset. But in the end, this has been a very productive exercise.

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“Getting the university administration to sit down and look closely at each position, considering grants, funding sources and instructional workload for 121 positions, showed UH administrators and legislators how problematic interpreting teaching workloads and justifications or criteria for substitution of other activities for classroom teaching. This review showed us how instructional teaching workloads and the teaching policies of the university have been compromised.

“It is clear that we have many challenges ahead of us as we work with the Regents and the UH administration to explore single classifications, more global criteria of substituting other activities for classroom teaching, and system-wide standards to determine teaching equivalencies, nine-month faculty, eleven-month faculty, and researchers.

“Finally, the Senate is working on a resolution to urge the Regents to continue the work in this area that was done by previous Regents.”

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