State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Jim Malatras resigned from his position on Dec. 9 amidst growing pressure after text messages revealed he berated a former aide who later accused former Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Malatras announced his resignation in a letter sent to the SUNY Board of Trustees. The resignation takes effect on Jan. 14.
“But, the recent events surrounding me over the past week have become a distraction over the important work that needs to be accomplished as SUNY emerges from COVID-19,” Malatras said in his letter. “I believe deeply in SUNY and would never want to be an impediment to its success. Therefore, please accept my resignation effective January 14, 2022 as SUNY’s Chancellor.”
Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said that she is aware of his resignation and respects the decision that has been made. “I look forward to working with the next leader of SUNY as we continue our important research and teaching mission,” McInnis said in a statement to The Statesman.
The New York State Attorney General’s Office released text messages sent by Malatras from their independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The texts disparaged former aide Lindsey Boylan, the first of over 10 to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment. Malatras published a formal apology last Friday.
“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.”
The Member Action Coalition, a faction of union members within UUP, broke with its leadership’s decision and in a statement, aligned themselves with the SUNY Student Assembly executive board, New York College Democrats and Republicans, who all called for Malatras’ resignation last week.
“The voices of SUNY students have been heard,” the SUNY Student Assembly said in a statement. “We are proud to stand alongside our faculty, community leaders, legislators, and others who support us as women, mothers, and tuition paying students.”
The SUNY Student Assembly also called for a national search for the position of Chancellor that allows for all qualified candidates to be considered.
“Together we will move forward and continue to advocate for the investment needed to strengthen academic excellence and student success at SUNY and across public higher education,” they added.
Malatras was appointed chancellor in August 2020.
Maya Brown contributed reporting.