The State University of New York Student Assembly (SUNYSA) executive board called on SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras to resign in a press release on Dec. 3 after transcripts revealed vulgar statements directed at a former aide who accused former Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.
On Monday, Nov. 29, the transcripts and supporting documents were released from Attorney General Letitia James’ probe into Cuomo, who served as New York’s governor from 2011 to 2021 and resigned in August after sexual harassment allegations were made against him.
“I have no knowledge of this situation beyond what has been publicly reported, so I will not offer any comment on the specifics,” Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said in a statement to The Statesman. “I am focused on our mission here at Stony Brook to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education of the highest quality, while continuing to build and maintain a diverse and respectful academic environment. That said, we need to take allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace seriously and listen to and protect those who come forward to report and raise the alarm.”
The new documents revealed email threads from May 2019 in which Malatras disparaged Lindsey Boylan, the first of more than 10 women to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
“His comments about a female co-worker, including the use of language such as, ‘go f*** yourself,’ show a level of hostility and lack of professionalism that is unbecoming and should be disqualifying for the position of Chancellor,” SUNYSA said in a press release. “These comments and the behavior they demonstrate are reprehensible at best, and we find it necessary to call for the resignation and removal of Chancellor Malatras.”
If Malatras does not resign in the upcoming days, the SUNYSA wants the SUNY Board of Trustees to take a vote of no confidence. A no confidence vote removes the chancellor from his position. The next SUNY Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Dec. 14.
The board of the State University of New York issued a statement on Dec. 3, showing support for Malatras to remain in office.
“Dr. Jim Malatras has been an outstanding leader of SUNY through one of the most trying times in our history and has the support of the SUNY Board of Trustees,” the board said. “He’s acknowledged he made a mistake, taken full responsibility for it, and apologized appropriately. He is fully focused on the critical work of keeping our facilities open and our students and faculty safe through the ongoing pandemic.”
Several members of Andrew Cuomo’s inner circle have also come under scrutiny in recent months, including his brother, CNN journalist Chris Cuomo, who was fired after a recent inquiry uncovered improper conduct between him and his brother regarding the allegations.
“I not only owe Ms. Boylan an apology for my conduct, I owe an apology to the broader SUNY community for failing to live up to the standard that leadership of this institution entails and demands,” Malatras said in a statement to his colleagues. “My greatest hope is to foster an inclusive community at SUNY where every faculty and staff member and student can feel safe and heard. I hope that my record here has made that commitment clear.”