University of Maine System public statement by Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy regarding University of Maine at Augusta president search

The University of Maine System (UMS) recently concluded a national search for president for the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA). The UMS Board of Trustees approved my recommendation to hire Michael Laliberte, who is currently the President of the State University of New York College of Technology at Delhi (SUNY Delhi).

UMS had engaged Storbeck Search to lead the national presidential search. A 14-member search committee facilitated by Storbeck Search Managing Director Jim Sirianni evaluated all applications, ranked candidates for initial zoom interviews, and then recommended four final candidates to be invited for on-campus in-person interviews during the last half of this past February. As Chancellor, I did not participate in any of these search committee deliberations.

In mid-February, before final on-campus interviews began, Jim Sirianni informed me that President Laliberte had been the subject of a no-confidence vote by the SUNY Delhi College Senate in October 2021. Sirianni reported that he had carefully investigated the matter and checked references to conclude that the SUNY Delhi faculty allegations leading to the no-confidence vote were not substantiated and should not be given serious consideration in the search.

I did not know at the time whether Jim Sirianni would discuss the matter with the UMA presidential search committee, however. I regret that they were not informed, and I’m sorry that I didn’t specifically ask for that to occur. With the benefit of hindsight, I believe the UMA presidential search committee should have had an opportunity to review the no-confidence vote matter during the interview process so that President Laliberte could address any concerns about it then.

Current media reports present the SUNY Delhi faculty allegations against President Laliberte as if they were true. However, the Storbeck confidential reference checks and my own review confirmed that the SUNY administration carefully investigated the faculty claims against President Laliberte and found them to be without merit. The SUNY administration did not ask President Laliberte to step down or resign; he is choosing to leave to come to the University of Maine at Augusta of his own volition.

University faculty senates have an important shared governance role in our universities. Any faculty senate’s vote of no confidence in a sitting president is a serious matter. I welcome the UMA faculty senate’s review of this matter with President Laliberte now, and I will make myself available to the UMA faculty senate to hear their concerns as well. At the same time, I moved forward with recommending Michael Laliberte’s appointment only after carefully reviewing the matter and concluding that the SUNY faculty concerns against President Laliberte were unfounded, and I am committed now to maintaining trust with the UMA faculty to ensure his and UMA’s success going forward.

About the University of Maine System

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.

In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.

A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.

Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.

The System consists of seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMM); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.

Please follow these links to the UMS Logo, UMS and individual university style guides and an image and biographical information for Chancellor Malloy.