SUNY Faculty Senate condemns Malatras and calls for action

The State University of New York Faculty Senate condemned “workplace harassment” in a statement Tuesday that called on the board to take action against SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, but no did not ask for his dismissal.

Malatras comes under fire for recently published texts mocking a former aide to former governor Andrew Cuomo who criticized the toxic work culture of the governor’s administration.

The University Faculty Senate statement criticized the SUNY board, which affirmed its support for the Chancellor last week, not only for ignoring his “unacceptable” behavior, but also for failing “to adequately explain why they retain the confidence that he can lead and defend effectively. for SUNY in the future. He expressed serious concerns about the chancellor’s ability “to restore and restore confidence,” acknowledging that while many members of the UFS executive committee supported his resignation or impeachment, others wanted to warn the government first. chancellor and the board of directors.

To that end, the UFS statement demanded that the board authorize an independent investigation into Malatras’ leadership at the Rockefeller Institute, Empire State College and the SUNY system, focused on workplace culture, hiring procedures, transparency and collaboration with professors and student organizations. He also urged the board to work with the SUNY Faculty Council of Community Colleges, the Student Assembly and UFS “to clarify and improve the principles and policies for future chancellor research.” .

SUNY’s board of directors, which consists of 15 people appointed by the former governor and three ex-officio members, specifically cited Malatras’ performance during the COVID-19 pandemic in the supporting statement.

“Dr. Jim Malatras has been an outstanding leader of SUNY through one of the most difficult times in our history and has the support of the SUNY Board of Directors,” the statement read. “He admitted to making a mistake. , took full responsibility for it and apologized appropriately. He is fully focused on the essential work of keeping our facilities open and our students and faculty safe during the ongoing pandemic. “

The board also issued an official apology from Malatras in which he admitted making “derogatory and disrespectful remarks about a former colleague” which “were inappropriate, disrespectful and false”, but also noted that Controversial text messages had been sent before he was Chancellor of SUNY.

In addition, the board issued a statement by Frederick E. Kowal, president of United University Professions, the union of professors of SUNY, supporting Malatras.

“We welcome the Chancellor’s apology,” the statement read. “It was necessary and appropriate.”

Statements of support have not stifled many calls for Malatras’ resignation.

Although the Faculty’s Senate did not call for his resignation, the group’s statement called on Malatras to “lead an effort to foster diverse, equitable, inclusive, respectful and healthy workplaces and leadership cultures” in across the SUNY system, and effectively advocating for the New York City to become a national leader in budgeting support for public higher education.

“We will continue to monitor these developments and stand ready to take further action if necessary,” the statement concluded.

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