By Saba Mann | December 11, 2021
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras is stepping down amid growing calls from student organizations and lawmakers to resign, following his connection to various scandals related to former Governor Andrew Cuomo and text messages released by the state attorney general’s office detailing his flare-ups against former colleagues.
The Times Union reported Monday on Malatras chastising a Rockefeller Institute of Government employee in a 2017 audio recording while president of the institution, saying “You have a f__ing bad attitude on everything, lady,” and "You're a misery.”
Malatras also bashed Lindsey Boylan, then former aide for ex-Governor Cuomo, in a 2019 Twitter feud, after she spoke out about a toxic workplace in the Executive Chamber. Transcripts released by Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation late last month revealed the behavior also took place through internal text and email messages. He has since apologized.
Boylan was one of the first to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, Malatras wrote, “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. I believe deeply in an individual’s ability to evolve, change, and grow, but I also believe deeply in SUNY and would never want to be an impediment to its success.”
“The voices of SUNY students have been heard,” said the SUNY Student Assembly in a statement. “It is time for a new beginning at SUNY with enhanced investment in the programs and services critical to our education.”
Last week, SUNY SA had called on Malatras resignation citing his behavior as “unbecoming” following the release of the New York State Attorney General’s reports. The organization is now calling on a “national search” for a chancellor, something that broke precedent when electing Malatras as chancellor in 2020.
The president of United University Professions (UUP) Frederick E. Kowal, also urged New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Board of Trustees to lead a nationwide search despite Kowal continually expressing support for the Chancellor.
Malatras received his bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in political science from UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.
Professor Patricia Strach, someone Malatras considered a mentor and later went on to become Strach’s boss, had no comment when asked about the resignation.
Malatras was also involved in the undercounting of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hochul called SUNY board chairman Merryl Tisch late Wednesday, saying Malatras needed to make an exit, a source told the New York Post.
The source said Hochul called the situation "untenable" and "not good for SUNY."
POLITICO reports that Hochul has promised to relieve her administration of the “toxic” hold on state government, though she never publicly called on his resignation, as he was “not part of my administration.”
Malatras resignation is effective January 14.