Professors at the University of Maine at Augusta are calling on the Maine university system to reinvigorate the search for a new leader at the school and voted no confidence in the system’s chancellor.
The UMA faculty senate votes came after top system officials never informed the UMA’s next president search committee that the man the system ultimately hired faced votes of no confidence from faculty and students at his current institution.
UMA faculty senate votes took place Wednesday night, after faculty met with University of Maine system chancellor Dannel Malloy and Michael Laliberte, the man who will become UMA’s president. UMA on August 1, regarding the research process.
The College Senate and student government at the institution Laliberte has led since 2016, the State University of New York in Delhi, issued votes of no confidence in Laliberte’s leadership less than a year ago. a year.
The votes came after a letter signed by at least 100 faculty and staff was sent to the Chancellor of the New York State University System saying Laliberte had been fiscally irresponsible and that he and his team of leadership had “enabled a culture of disrespect and hostility.
The Bangor Daily News report revealed that UMaine system chancellor Dannel Malloy and chairman of the 14-member search committee tasked with choosing the finalists, system administrator Sven Bartholomew, were both aware of the vote of distrust of the professors but did not inform the research committee. .
At the UMA faculty senate meeting on Wednesday, faculty voted against the research that led to Laliberte’s nomination and against Malloy. Failure to inform members of the search committee of the votes of no confidence at SUNY Delhi “compromised the integrity of the research”.
The professors requested that the search be declared “failed” and that a new search begin immediately.
Malloy said he takes the votes seriously, but did not specify specific next steps in a statement Thursday morning.
Malloy came to the University of Maine system in 2019 after serving two terms as governor of Connecticut.
In their censure resolution, UMA professors criticized the university system’s “inconsistent claims” explaining the presidential search process “which are more focused on protecting the chancellor’s reputation than preserving the integrity of WBU”. They also criticized Malloy’s moves to centralize the management of state universities at the system level.
“I am sorry that my actions and decisions led WBU faculty to this vote of no confidence,” he said. “I understand what a serious concern this is for the university and the system, and I will work with everyone at WBU to restore confidence in me.”
Malloy said he would discuss these matters further with system administrators, and said the university system would require future candidates for campus president and provost to reveal whether they were voted on. of defiance.
Although Malloy said he would discuss these matters further with system administrators, he also said there would be a change in future search policies that would require applicants to declare whether they have been subject to of a vote of no confidence.
On Tuesday, the union that represents faculty across the University of Maine system criticized the system’s approach to finding and withholding key information about Laliberté.
During the research process, all members of the research committee signed a code of ethics designed to “ensure that a decision is made based on the most complete and accurate information”.
By signing the code of ethics, the members of the research committee have agreed to “protect themselves against inaccuracies, negligence, biases and distortions resulting from the emphasis or omission of information” and have pledged ” to be fair, accurate, honest and responsible in my handling of information”. .”
Bartholomew, however, did not share information about the faculty members’ vote of no confidence with other committee members, the University of Maine system confirmed.
Initially, the system defended Bartholomew’s withholding of information and said that Malloy and Bartholomew had been instructed by Jim Sirianni of the firm Storbeck Search which was assisting in the search not to discuss votes of no confidence.
In an emailed message to the UMA community on Tuesday, Laliberte said objections to his leadership at SUNY Delhi stemmed from the fact that he was an “agent of change” and that a specific group of people on campus opposed his changes.
According to Laliberte, SUNY management investigated the claims that prompted the votes of no confidence and found them “baseless.”
Laliberté said he should have “made a point to directly address the vote of no confidence, and I’m sorry I didn’t.” Not to do so was an error in judgement. My desire to make a good impression and stay positive clouded my judgment and led to my silence on this painful issue.