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University of Maine trustees consider Malloy’s fate

Several staff members have voted no confidence in Dannel Malloy
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - The University of Maine board of trustees prepare to decide the fate of University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy.

Malloy was hired in Maine three years ago after serving two terms as governor of Connecticut. His contract, which includes a $350,000 salary, expires June 30. Trustees are hearing from an outside firm that conducted a multi-year review of his tenure.

In recent weeks, the faculty senates of the University of Maine at Augusta, the University of Southern Maine and the University of Farmington have each issued no-confidence votes in Malloy. The University of Maine at Machias faculty endorsed these votes on Friday as well.

Malloy has said he takes the resolutions seriously and that the pace of change throughout the system is causing anxiety.

On Sunday, the UMS board of trustees announced that Michael Laliberte had voluntarily withdrawn from his contract to be the next president of the University of Maine at Augusta. The agreement includes paying Laliberte the first year of compensation that he would have earned, $205,000.

“There’s a rightful frustration with how that search went and it went badly,” Malloy said. “On the other hand at the same time, we were doing a search here at University of Southern Maine and it went extremely well.”

In a joint statement, Malloy and UMS Board of Trustees Chair Mark Gardner said: “We take responsibility for the lack of trust in the initial UMA presidential search process and will move forward to constitute a new search committee and seek new candidates with the guidance of a new search firm, to be selected after a thorough RFP process. We commit to a search process that is inclusive and transparent. It is critical that members of the University of Maine at Augusta and UMS communities have confidence in the integrity of the search process, and in the shared governance that must be the foundation of a successful search.”

Adding to the frustration, nine faculty members were recently “retrenched” at the University of Maine at Farmington after that campus saw a 27% enrollment drop.

“There’s a lot of issues we’re dealing with,” Malloy said. “Economically, a good part of our revenue comes from tuition and when students don’t come to the university, we have real challenges.”

Those faculty members will be paid for 18 months, but people at UMA say the loss of those popular faculty members will be felt.

The board of trustees meeting took place on Sunday and Monday at the University of Southern Maine. During a public comment section, faculty members and students expressed frustration with the system, saying leadership in the system is too centralized.

“These are not the totality of the problems facing the University of Maine’s system,” said faculty member James Cook. “These are the straws that broke the camel’s back.”

On Sunday, the board members heard an annual review of Malloy’s performance during a closed-door session. They’ll take action on his contract during their next meeting.

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