ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — An apology has been issued from SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras while some students and faculty calling for him to resign on Friday.
This comes after new documents surfaced Monday as part of New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into sexual harassment allegations against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, revealing disturbing text messages and emails sent by Malatras.
Not even two months before Malatras became the president of SUNY Empire State College in 2019, messages were sent about Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to the Governor and the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Recently released documents from the AG’s investigation included emails from Malatras to top ranking Cuomo aides about his Twitter response to Boylan’s tweet in which she said, being a mother while also being a senior staff member in politics was a “toxic and demoralizing experience.”
Malatras fired back in a tweet, saying, “I saw someone Twitter bombing about family life on the 2nd Floor to get some attention for unrelated political purposes. That’s their prerogative. Is working in the chamber tough? You bet. Long hours? Yes. It should be. But my son was often a welcomed part of it so I could serve.”
After the findings were made public, calls are growing from students and faculty, demanding Malatras to resign immediately.
The Student Assembly (SA) and the Faculty Council of Community Colleges at SUNY have issued statements, calling on Malatras to step down due to his “unbecoming behavior.”
Part of the statement signed by the SUNY Student SA reads in part:
Should the Chancellor choose not to do the right thing and resign, we call on the Board of Trustees to remove him with a vote of no confidence at their next meeting, based on the concerns raised in our statement as well as those from the statements released by so many other organizations, policymakers, and influential figures across public higher education.Statement: SUNY Student Assembly
Read the SUNY Student Assembly’s entire statement here:
NewsChannel 9’s Adrienne Smith had the chance to speak with the SUNY SA organization’s president and trustee, Bradley Hershenson.
However, state school trustees and labor leaders are standing by Malatras, rejecting their request to replace him and praising him for what he’s done as SUNY Chancellor so far.
In a statement sent on behalf of the SUNY Board of Trustees on Friday, members wrote in part:
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. 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.Statement: SUNY Board of Trustees
For now, the board is giving Chancellor Malatras another chance.
The New York State Public Employees Federation and United University Professions/AFT Local 2190 also released statements in support of Chancellor Malatras.
We reached out to the Chancellor and SUNY Board of Trustees for comment. Neither would go on-camera with us.
However, in a letter of his own, also released on Friday, Chancellor Malatras wrote in part:
Leadership in public service is a privilege and with it comes immense responsibility for upholding the values of professionalism, decency, and respect. I take that responsibility very seriously and in recent days it has been clear I have fallen short. 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.Statement: SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras
Read the Chancellor’s entire statement by clicking here or see below:
Malatras has served as the SUNY Chancellor since August 2020, taking on the role during the COVID-19 pandemic.