SUNY Student Assembly calling on Chancellor Jim Malatras to resign

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Student Assembly of the State University of New York’s Executive Committee and The Faculty Council of Community Colleges of the State University of New York are calling on Chancellor Jim Malatras to resign.

The groups said in statements Friday the materials released by the State Attorney General’s Office demonstrate behavior that is unbecoming of a chancellor and that allowing him to remain in place damages SUNY’s reputation.

Students said they want the Board of Trustees to remove him if he doesn’t resign. but in their own letter to the board Friday, the New York State Public Employees Federation said it only has positive opinions of Malatras.

The full statement is below:

"Throughout the nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of dedicated New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) nurses employed by SUNY have worked tirelessly to step up, protect our communities, and save lives. Our members have put others before themselves to keep New Yorkers safe, and nowhere did we witness that more than in SUNY hospitals – institutions that provide a lifeline to many of New York’s most underserved and underrepresented communities.

"Our work was possible in part because I developed confidence early on that SUNY System Administration, particularly Chancellor Jim Malatras, supported and deeply valued the care our members provide. During my tenure as PEF president, I’ve never experienced a more collaborative and responsive relationship than I have with Chancellor Malatras. It has made a world of difference to have a relationship based on mutual respect and open communication.

"As SUNY Chancellor, Jim Malatras has been a staunch defender of, and partner with PEF members. During the darkest days of the pandemic, when PEF nurses were overworked, underpaid, and burned out, Chancellor Malatras never stopped working with us to find ways to show appreciation, gratitude and – most importantly – directly support PEF workers by helping to provide fair wages and retention incentives.

"His commitment to SUNY hospitals and all 64 SUNY campuses, many of which educate the nurses and other staff that constitute the union I lead, has been unwavering. Our members know Jim and value the opportunities he has provided to collaborate to improve working conditions and thereby improving the quality care SUNY provides to our communities.

"Chancellor Malatras has our full faith and confidence. We look forward to continuing our partnership with him to the benefit of all New Yorkers for years to come."

The SUNY Board of Trustees sent a similar statement regarding Chancellor Malatras:

“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.

"Under Jim’s leadership, the SUNY system stayed open throughout the pandemic while other major state university systems across the country and colleges across New York closed and went fully remote. Working hand in hand with our faculty, staff, and students he implemented groundbreaking COVID protocols that led to the administration of 2.9 million COVID tests on campuses and nearly universal vaccination among faculty, students, and staff. As a result, SUNY has consistently had one of the lowest positivity rates in the country—far below the New York statewide rate. That work set the stage for SUNY classes to be 70 percent in person this semester—a number that will grow significantly in the new year.

"Under Jim’s leadership, SUNY has eliminated barriers to higher education by waiving college application fees for low-income students, launched the SUNY on-line training center offering free certifications and classes as an entryway to college degrees, tackled food insecurity by auto-enrolling students in the SNAP program, invested in child care for students and staff, expanded mental health services across our campuses, created SUNY’s first-ever Pre-Medical Opportunity Program—a program that opens the door to medical school to students from underrepresented communities, and helped foster a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan.

"As we head into another surge in COVID cases Jim and the Board of Trustees are focused on keeping our campuses open, securing additional investment for SUNY to meet New York State’s workforce demand, and expanding innovation to continue to drive economic development across New York State. We have challenging days ahead and believe Jim Malatras, as Chancellor of the State University of New York, remains the right leader to help us meet that challenge.”

The Student Assembly of the State University of New York’s Executive Committee’s statement is below (mobile users, click here):

SUNY SA Statement on Chancellor Jim Malatras (1) by News10NBC on Scribd

The Faculty Council of Community Colleges’ statement is below (mobile users, click here):

FCCC Statement on Chancellor Malatras by News10NBC on Scribd

The SUNY University Faculty Senate Tuesday sent a statement condemning workplace harassment, and the messages from Malatras uncovered during the Cuomo investigation (mobile users, click here):

Ufs Statement on Chancellor Malatras and Workplace Culture by News10NBC on Scribd