Calls are growing from SUNY students and teachers for Chancellor James Malatras to resign over his smearing of Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo of harassment.
State school trustees and labor leaders, however, stood by Malatras Friday, praising his leadership during the pandemic and rejecting the call from a coalition of SUNY government representatives to replace him.
The Student Assembly and the Faculty Council of Community Colleges at SUNY had issued statements demanding that Malatras step down due to his “unbecoming” behavior.
It came after the New York College Democratic and Republican clubs said his comments were unacceptable and also called on him to resign.
Malatras’ vicious comments were revealed on Monday when Attorney General Letitia James released a trove of documents related to her investigation of the disgraced governor.
The bombshell evidence prompted CNN to suspend anchor Chris Cuomo for his role in combatting harassment complaints against his brother, Andrew.
Andrew Cuomo resigned in August, but did not admit wrongdoing, after Attorney General Letitia James found the Democrat had mistreated as many as 11 women and harassed or committed misconduct against several staffers.
The newly released materials include emails from May 2019 where Malatras — who was a longtime Cuomo aide and advisor before being appointed SUNY chancellor last year — used an expletive to criticize Boylan in a dispute over workplace conditions in the governor’s office a year-and-a-half before she came forward with the sexual harassment accusation.
“Malatras to Boylan: Go f**k yourself,” Malatras texted the Cuomo aides.
He then suggested that Cuomo’s office release emails from Boylan that made her look crazy, in retaliation for her accusing the governor of creating a toxic workplace.
“Let’s release some of her cray emails!” Malatras wrote to a top staffer.
Cuomo’s team did later release portions of Boylan’s personnel file in an attempt to discredit her harassment claims.
“As tuition paying students we have every right to expect that the highest standard of excellence will be adhered to by the University leadership,” student government leaders representing the system’s 64 public schools wrote Friday.
“As we have seen consistently throughout the released documents, Chancellor Malatras is not opposed to personal retaliation, and it is highly likely that this will be made evident to us as elected student leaders because of this statement.”
But the SUNY Board of Trustees rejected the calls to oust Malatras with a vote of no confidence, describing him as “an outstanding leader” during the COVID-19 crisis.
“He’s acknowledged he made a mistake, taken full responsibility for it, and apologized appropriately,” the board wrote. “He is fully focused on the critical work of keeping our facilities open and our students and faculty safe through the ongoing pandemic.”
Two powerful labor leaders — from the New York State Public Employees Federation and United University Professions — also stood by Malatras while citing his work during the pandemic.
The new revelations are not the only scandals that the Cuomo loyalist has been tied to. Malatras edited the controversial state Health Department report that lowballed the number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths after the facilities were forced to take overflow patients from hospitals. He also worked on Cuomo’s controversial COVID-19 memoir.
On Tuesday, Malatras told reporters he had some regrets about the incidents revealed in the new documents, but stopped short of apologizing and said he would not step down.
“The truth is I’m not proud of the language that I used,” he said after testifying at an Assembly Higher Education Committee meeting.
“I stand by the things I say. You could always say things a little better. …I could have done it in a more collaborative manner. Lessons learned,” he said.