SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, longtime Cuomo aide, announces resignation

New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced his resignation Thursday morning in a letter to the Board of Trustees. His resignation will take effect January 14.

Malatras, a longtime former aide to former Governor Andrew Cuomo, was facing mounting calls for his resignation following reports of disturbing text messages and emails he sent, which were made public last week as part of Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.

Jim Malatras, left and former Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, during a coronavirus press briefing on May 15, 2020. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Malatras was appointed as the 14th SUNY Chancellor last August, becoming the first-ever SUNY graduate to lead the higher education system. Upon his appointment he requested a 25% pay cut for a salary of $450,000, plus a $60,000 housing allowance.

“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,” Malatras said in part in the resignation letter. “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. Therefore, please accept my resignation effective January 14, 2022 as SUNY’s Chancellor.”

A statement Thursday from the SUNY Board of Trustees following the announcement:

“We want to thank Dr. Jim Malatras for his extraordinary service to the entire SUNY system. The past two years have been among the most trying in SUNY’s history—and Jim’s leadership and collaboration with our faculty and staff have allowed our institution to continue to thrive and serve our nearly 400,000 students at 64 campuses across our state safely and in person. He has been a champion for our students, for access, for equity, and for deeper public investment in this great institution. The entire board expresses our gratitude for his dedication and leadership.”

The newly released documents confirmed Malatras sent emails using expletives to some of Cuomo’s highest members of office in 2019 about Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide and the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment allegations in December 2020.

The exchange took place before Malatras became SUNY Chancellor and before Boylan accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. In the newly released documents, Malatras sent emails 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.”

Malatras later wrote to his colleagues: “I think we just keep retweeting my tweet without comment. It’s clearly driving her nuts.”

As recently as Saturday, leaders of New York’s public college system stood behind Malatras. He issued an apology Friday, which was accepted by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

On Monday, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Chair of the Higher Education Committee, called for his resignation.

Boylan tweeted late Friday that she’s received no apology.

Resignation letter

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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