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UMF issues vote of no confidence in Chancellor Malloy

FARMINGTON — The Faculty Senate at the University of Maine at Farmington issued a vote of no confidence in University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday, May 18.

The UMF Faculty Senate cited issues with Malloy’s leadership, the decision to eliminate positions in the humanities and social sciences, integration into the unified credentialing of the UMaine system, and the threat to “the identity and mission of UMF as a liberal arts college specializing in teacher preparation.

The vote follows a period of instability at UMF and in the UMaine system.

Nine faculty members in the humanities and social sciences learned on May 2 that their positions at UMF were being cut.

The eliminations removed all staff from the Women’s and Gender Studies program, the Department of Philosophy/Religion, and the Department of Modern Languages. Three other positions have been cut in the departments of history, geography and psychology.

As a result, students and faculty protested the eliminations on Saturday, May 7, following the UMF class of 2022 graduation. The students also staged a 24-hour sit-in from Tuesday May 11 to Wednesday May 12, where they drafted a list of demands that included Malloy’s resignation or impeachment.

Amid the concerns, UMF had already gone through a period of change this past school year.

The Farmington Flyer, UMF’s student newspaper, reported that “UMF will implement a new curriculum and credit system in the fall of 2023…to match the UMF curriculum with other schools in the University of Maine system…(and) facilitate the transfer of students to UMF.”

Faculty members told the Franklin Journal that the transition from a four- to three-credit system has caused a lot of stress over an already difficult few years at UMF.

At the same time, the leadership of UMF, the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), and the University of Southern Maine (USM) is undergoing major change following the resignation of the three current presidents. Additionally, UMF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Eric Brown announced Tuesday that he will step down on June 30.

Each campus has been named a new president over the past three weeks.

UMaine System announced Tuesday, May 3, that Joseph McDonnell will replace outgoing UMF President Edward Serna as interim president for two years — apparently without faculty input.

The Kennebec Journal reports that Malloy also nominated Michael Laliberte as UMA president, knowing that Laliberte had received votes of no confidence as president of the State University of New York in Delhi.

In the space of three days last week, the UMA and USM faculty senates cast votes of no confidence in Malloy.

The UMA also issued a no-confidence resolution in the presidential search process that resulted in Laliberte’s nomination.

The UMF Faculty Senate gave the following reasons for the vote of no confidence in Malloy:

• “Whereas the Chancellor has engaged in behavior that disregards shared governance standards and the autonomy and missions of individual UMS campuses, as reflected in last week’s votes of no confidence at UMA and USM.”

• “While nine UMF faculty members were terminated at the behest of the system, emptying the UMF Humanities Division – including the entirety of world languages, philosophy/religion, women’s and gender studies – with additional cuts to social sciences and psychology.”

• “Whereas women’s and gender studies courses have been eliminated at a pivotal time in our country’s history when women’s rights are under threat.

• “Whereas the nature and scope of these cuts threaten UMF’s identity and mission as a liberal arts college specializing in teacher education, and make it impossible for students in several programs to complete their majors in their home institution.”

• “Whereas the resignation of three UMS presidents last year under the leadership of the Chancellor has led to a culture of instability.”

• “While the Chancellor failed to brief the WBU Presidential Search Committee on information about a no-confidence vote against the candidate the system hired despite codes of ethics requiring such a report, and delegated decision-making power to a private consulting firm with a history of known breaches of ethics.

• “While Unified Accreditation principles have been selectively applied in a manner that does not include financial aid or marketing, thereby depriving Maine students of fair choice and exacerbating competition between campus.”

• “While campus administrations have been stripped of the autonomy to conduct essential campus operations, including the hiring of all staff at all levels and the dispersal of faculty stipends for off-contract work. “

In response to the UMF vote, Chancellor Malloy issued the following statement:

“I take seriously the vote of the Faculty Senate at the University of Maine at Farmington today. I understand that they are reacting to the very difficult decisions and challenges facing the UMF. My promise is to continue to work with faculty, staff, campus management, and most importantly, students to protect the unique, high-quality college experience offered by the University of Maine at Farmington.

“The system will continue to do all it can to find new opportunities for faculty members who have been directly impacted by these changes. I know it’s difficult and I know there will be those who disagree with this course of action. I am responsible for my decision to approve this plan, no matter how difficult, and I understand that it is my responsibility to implement the vision and strategies set out by the Board of Directors, even when it requires incredibly difficult choices.

“Our focus must remain on serving our students and maintaining an accessible and affordable university system.