Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Before he became chancellor of the State University of New York system, Jim Malatras participated in text exchanges with employees in former New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in which they heckled Lindsey Boylan, a Cuomo aide who had tweeted about a toxic workplace, the Times Union reported. At the time, Malatras was transitioning from his role as president of SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute to president of Empire State College.

In a 2019 group text with several Cuomo staff members, aide Rich Azzopardi wrote, “I thought we outlawed bath salts?” in reference to Boylan. Malatras liked the message and wrote in response, “Let’s release some of her cray emails!” Boylan was not part of the group text.

Malatras also got into a Twitter fight with her. Describing the climate in Cuomo’s office, Boylan tweeted, “I was the only mother of young children on senior staff in my last job in politics. They didn’t ‘get it’ even with all the ‘right’ policies. It was a toxic and demoralizing experience. Now I run my own company full of, especially moms.”

Malatras later responded on Twitter, “I saw someone Twitterbombing about family life on the 2nd Floor to get some attention for unrelated political purposes. That’s their prerogative. Is working in the chamber tough? You bet. Long hours? Yes. It should be. But my son was often a welcomed part of it so I could serve.”

Boylan responded, calling him tone-deaf in a series of tweets. Malatras later wrote to the group text, “Malatras to Boylan: Go f__ yourself.”

A year and a half after Boylan tweeted about workplace culture, she accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct. A SUNY spokesperson said the chancellor did not participate in the Cuomo administration’s effort to respond to Boylan’s claims of sexual misconduct in the governor’s office.

“The exchange which occurred on May 2019 was part of a disagreement with Ms. Boylan about various issues unrelated to any sexual harassment allegations which occurred a year and half later in December 2020,” the spokesperson told the Times Union.

In response to a question from a New York Now reporter, Malatras said, “This was many years ago, people have disagreements in high-stress jobs, I should have used different language, it’s a long time ago, I’ve got to focus on SUNY.”

College students who lead the New York State College Democrats and Republicans have both called on Malatras to leave his position, The New York Post reported.

Malatras’s comments were “extremely inappropriate” and “illustrate the chancellor’s pattern of toxic, unprofessional and inexcusable behavior,” said Savannah Chadwick, president of the College Democrats of New York. “We find the chancellor unfit to lead our great SUNY system, which must uphold itself as an inclusive space for all students and faculty,” said Chadwick.

Augustus LeRoux, president of the New York Federation of College Republicans, said, “The malicious words written by Malatras run counterproductive to the mission of higher education institutions … In addition to his resignation, Chancellor Malatras must issue a formal apology for his works. In attacking Lindsey Boylan, the chancellor also issued an indirect attack on all victims.”

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