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University of Hawai‘i president David Lassner is under fire from a trio of Hawaii Democrats who reportedly called for his resignation, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser article. The three subsequently walked back those comments, releasing a joint statement that said the paper had portrayed their stance “in a distorted manner.”

“Our criticism stems from our interactions with him and feedback that we have received from students, faculty, parents, former regents, and members of the university community who feel that a change in leadership may be necessary,” read part of the joint statement, released Sunday. “As legislators, it is our responsibility to convey the concerns of our constituents and ensure accountability of all government agencies, including the University of Hawai‘i, and their leaders.”

The three lawmakers—Michelle Kidani, Donovan Dela Cruz and Donna Mercado Kim—noted that despite their concerns, any decision on Lassner’s employment falls to the UH Board of Regents.

Kim, who helms the Hawaii Senate’s Higher Education committee, has a long and contentious history with the university system. Among other things, she took system officials to task for losing $200,000 to scammers who falsely promised a Stevie Wonder concert in 2012. More recently, last year she proposed reforms, which ultimately failed, that would have limited tenure eligibility and given the legislature more authority over the UH system.

Faculty leadership groups at multiple campuses condemned Kim for “inappropriate legislative actions” last year, issuing a public rebuke to the powerful state senator.

“It is of course disappointing to face harsh criticism, but that is part of leadership,” Lassner said in a statement, according to Hawaii News Now. “And especially in a public role such as this in which I report to the Board of Regents, work closely with the legislature and governor, collaborate regularly with the students and faculty who are the heart of what we do, and attend to the needs of community members who are too often without voice—the input from all these constituencies is never in full alignment, but I always try to listen carefully to those who disagree with me to learn how I can improve. So I welcome ideas on how we can do even better, ideally together, for this great university and the people of Hawaiʻi we are all charged to serve.”