ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The SUNY Board of Trustees is standing behind Chancellor Jim Malatras after calls were made for his resignation when he was named in the New York Attorney General’s sexual harassment report of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The board released a lengthy statement Friday night in support of Malatras stating he was an outstanding leader during the coronavirus pandemic.
It read 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.
“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.”
In 2019, before he was chancellor, Malatras took part in exchanges between other top aides in the Cuomo Administration about Lindsay Boylan, the first person to accuse the former governor 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 Twitterbombing 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.”
In a recent letter released to the SUNY community, Malatras apologized for the messages about Boylan that had come to light.
In the letter, he said: “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.”
At the start of her term, Gov. Kathy Hochul stated anyone named in the AG’s report of former governor Cuomo would not have a place in her administration. NEWS10 ABC reached out to Hochul’s office to find out if Malatras would be investigated or possibly fired.
In a statement, Hochul Press Secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays said:
“Governor Hochul committed to New Yorkers that no one who was mentioned in the Attorney General’s investigation performing inappropriate conduct that contributed to a culture of harassment would be a member of her Executive Chamber, and she has delivered on that promise.”
In addition to the SUNY Board of Trustees, Malatras has received support from New York State Public Employees Federation Pres. Wayne Spence and United University Professions Pres. Frederick Kowal.
The full statement from the Board can be read on the SUNY website.