Chancellor Malloy receives fourth no-confidence vote, Laliberte withdraws from UMA post

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University of Maine System (UMS) Chancellor Dannel Malloy has now received four votes of no confidence from campuses within the university system.

Following votes of no confidence from faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), the University of Southern Maine (USM) and the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) faculty assembly voted on May 19 to declare no confidence in Malloy’s leadership.

Malloy is facing criticism for failing to disclose a no confidence vote taken against Michael Laliberte by the State University of New York at Delhi, where he formerly served as president, before a search committee selected him to be the next president of UMA. Malloy is also facing criticism over the retrenchment of nine UMF faculty as part of a larger budgetary shortfall at the university.

The UMM faculty voted 11 to 0 to support the no confidence vote, expressing their “mistrust of the current administration of the UMaine System and the questionable tactics with which they are pursuing their goals.”

In a letter of support for UMA, USM, and UMF, the UMM faculty echoed the UMA faculty’s call to begin a search for a new president and stated they believe that proper oversight of UMF by the Board of Trustees and the university system could have “put the institution on a firmer financial footing, thereby eliminating the rationale for the current drastic cuts.”

The UMS Board of Trustees met on Sunday, May 22 and accepted Laliberte’s decision to withdraw from the position of UMA president.

“This has been a difficult process for all involved and although we believe that Dr. Laliberte has the skills, talent, and integrity to lead UMA, we have decided that it is best that we listen to and support the UMA Faculty Senate in their desire to revisit the search for the next UMA President. We also want to repeat here that we all should have ensured that the entire UMA presidential search committee was fully informed, during the interview process, about the October 2021 State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi College Senate vote of no-confidence. This was a mistake and has understandably caused a deep mistrust of the search process within the UMA community. We regret this outcome, but believe that this resolution is the right decision for now,” Laliberte, Malloy and UMS trustee Sven Bartholomew, who headed the search for a new president, said in a joint statement.

A release from the UMS also noted that a written settlement between the parties had not yet been signed but the parties agreed to pay Laliberte the $205,000 salary he would have earned during his first year as president. The parties further agreed that Laliberte may be paid “additional compensation in the second and third year only if he seeks but is unable to find employment earning the same or greater salary than he would have earned in his first year as UMA’s president.”

Payments made to Laliberte will come from UMS reserves. 

Malloy and Mark Gardner, outgoing chair of the UMS Board of Trustees, also announced a new search for a UMA president will begin next fall. Joe Szakas, UMA’s outgoing president, has agreed to serve as interim president through June 30, 2023.

The UMS Board of Trustees also met on Monday, May 23 and heard public comment from faculty across the system. The board is expected to consider Malloy’s contract, which expires on June 30. The Bangor Daily News’ Sawyer Loftus, present at Monday’s board meeting, reported a call from USM professor Paul Johnson for Malloy to resign was met with cheers and applause from faculty and students in attendance.

Photo: University of Maine System

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