The chancellor of the University of Maine System has been named to the International Commission against the Death Penalty.

Dannel Malloy, who has been system chancellor for five years, was named to the commission in recognition of his leadership in promoting civil and human rights. While serving as governor of Connecticut in 2012, he signed a bill repealing the death penalty in that state. The state’s Supreme Court later commuted the sentences of 11 men still on death row to life in prison.

“My position on the death penalty evolved through my experiences in the courtroom as a prosecutor and my conversations as governor with the loved ones of those lost to the most horrific of crimes,” Malloy said in a statement. “Not only did I come to see capital punishment as cruel and inhumane, but I learned that the legal realities of the process meant the family members of murder victims were denied justice and the opportunity to begin to heal and rebuild their own lives for decades.

University of Maine Chancellor Dannel Malloy was given a two-year contract last this summer. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“I am incredibly honored to join the commission and to continue to promote our most fundamental human rights, first among them the inherent right to life.”

The UMaine system said Malloy’s involvement with the commission will not interfere with his work as chancellor. The commission or Malloy will cover all costs associated with his ICDP duties, the system said in a statement.

The commission, which is headquartered in Spain, promotes the abolition of capital punishment in all of its 24 member countries, including the United States. It comprises 24 commissioners from across the world and is led by President Navanethem Pillay, the former United Nations commissioner for human rights. Malloy is the only U.S. representative.

Faculty had expressed dissatisfaction with Malloy when his contract was up for renewal in the spring of 2022, issuing no-confidence votes or openly criticizing his leadership. The board of trustees gave him a one-year contract and instructed him to improve communication and transparency. Last summer in a clear sign of confidence in Malloy, the board signed a two-year contract with him worth more than $800,000.

Twenty-seven states, mostly in the south and west, permit capital punishment as a legal penalty for the most severe of crimes, although not all use it. Maine does not have the death penalty.

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