REGION — University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy will meet with the Maine Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs June 16 to address what’s happening with the university system, according to committee Co-Chair and Sen. Joe Rafferty (D-York).

Malloy will be virtually meeting with the full thirteen-member committee, Rafferty told the Franklin Journal. He also hopes a member of the Board of Trustees will be in attendance. He is not yet sure if the meeting will be open to the public.

The agenda will be set at a committee meeting next week, Rafferty said. As a result, he is not sure what the meeting will specifically address.

However, he said he’d like to focus on “moving forward,” helping to improve communication between Malloy, the University of Maine System, the Board of Trustees and faculty members.

“I think that one of the concerns [the committee] had heard prior to the summer, going back … from the faculty was that they wanted better communication between themselves and the Board of Trustees,” Rafferty said.

However, Rafferty said other members might want to address some of the ongoing issues facing Malloy and the University of Maine System in the last two months.


It began in May when UMaine System administration announced the eliminations of nine faculty positions in the humanities and social sciences alongside nine retirements.

The eliminations, impacting five tenured professors effectively wiped out UMF’s Women’s and Gender Studies division, the Philosophy and Religion department and the World Languages department. Three additional positions were eliminated in the Geography, Psychology and History departments.

Alongside the eliminations, concerns were raised about how the UMaine System has selected new candidates to replace the presidents at UMF, University of Maine at Augusta and the University of Southern Maine.

System wide, faculty and students have been unhappy with the hiring of UMA’s new president, Michael Laliberte.

The Kennebec Journal reported in May that Malloy did not inform the UMA presidential search committee he knew faculty and students at the State University of New York at Dehli issued two votes of no confidence in Laliberte’s leadership as president.

Laliberte subsequently agreed to withdraw from the position, resulting in what could add up to a $615,000 payout.


Following all the news, the faculty senates for UMF, UMA and USM issued votes of “no confidence” in Malloy and the system, citing similar issues. The votes were additionally endorsed by University of Maine at Machias faculty.

“All those [issues with communication] kind of existed before this [news] came about,” Rafferty said. “I think that at this point, it kind of lends credence to the reason why we’re working for more communication [for] faculty members.”

Retiring University of Maine at Farmington professor and state Rep. Allison Hepler (D-53) said she has sent Education Committee Co-Chair Mike Brennan (D-36) a series of questions from UMF faculty member for Malloy and the Trustees to answer.

Hepler said these questions seek to address concerns with the Board of Trustee’s ability to “maintain faculty jobs at UMF and in the UMaine System in the coming years instead of continuing to retrench faculty members,” the search process for new presidents, the economic sustainability of UMaine System campuses amid drops in enrollment, the Unified System Accreditation, and, ultimately, “the economic and cultural effect on western Maine if UMF becomes much smaller.”

Hepler is not on the education committee, but is a University of Maine at Farmington professor of history. She is one of nine professors who took a planned retirement offering alongside nine retrenched faculty members.

“I hope [in the meeting] for some understanding of the uncertainty that faculty feels across the system, whether it’s places like UMF where their positions have been lost or system-wide uncertainty,” Hepler said. “There’s a need for good oversight and good stewardship [in the UMaine System]. I’m hoping that the legislature can find a useful way to do that.”

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