Tom Apple returned to his Manoa office Thursday wearing his University of Hawaii green polo shirt.
The night before, on the eve of a student and faculty march in support of retaining him, Apple was given notice.
“This is isn't about me. This is about how we run the university right now. The people I admire are the students and faculty who marched, whose voices need to be heard and and I hope someone listens," said Apple.
Apple was back in his office in Hawaii Hall winding up business just hours after his supporters pressed University of Hawaii President David Lassner for a reversal of Apple's termination.
Lassner flat-out denied that Apple's removal was driven by others outside of UH Manoa campus.
"There was no outside influence asking me or pressuring me or directing me to remove Tom Apple," said Lassner.
Not the Cancer Center, or the Medical School, not hospital executives, or outside athletic interests as some have suggested.
Apple declined to talk about all of the above.
But he defended his decision to deal with a $20 million campus deficit with a two-year hiring freeze that may have pitted schools and departments against each other.
"It actually is a closer scrutiny for hiring. That is really what it. It is a scrutiny that we hire in the right places. and we don't just hire because someone is retiring. Is this position to meet the student demand," said Apple.
Lassner's decision to cut Apple may have been what he thought was the only way to keep peace among feuding factions.
The head of the Center for Educational Policy expressed disappointment that the university had not yet turned the corner of what he called, "drama and trauma."
"There has to be a discussion about the real policy issues. This is issue about firing a chancellor. This is not a private matter. It's a public matter. You can't say it's none of your business," said Jim Shon.
Shon was on hand at the regents meeting two weeks ago, and had urged UH officials to hold a summit about the university’s future admist growing economic pressures and legislative underfunding.
Apple's settlement will include being paid $100,000 for attorney’s fees and flexibility to look for a job elsewhere.
He had offered to waive the legal fees if he could remain on the job.
UH said no.
When Apple steps down at the end of the month, he will prepare to be back in the classroom next spring at a salary of about $300,000 a year.
He will report to the chemistry department, not the medical school, expressing concerns with about working under current dean Jerris Hedges.
Apple cut the medical school budget by a million dollars last year.
Meanwhile Lassner expects to name an interim chancellor in time for next month's board of regents meeting.