Faculty at the University of Maine Farmington cast the third vote of no confidence in UMaine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday, joining colleagues at the University of Maine at Augusta and the University of Southern Maine, who cast no-confidence votes in the system leader last week.
The vote at UMF came on the heels of the layoffs of nine professors. The school is losing 18 professors in total because nine others have accepted early retirement packages.
The resolution from UMF’s faculty senate cited the cuts in Farmington, driven by budget shortfalls and a shrinking enrollment. It also cited a development that spurred the no-confidence votes at the Augusta and southern Maine campuses — the university system’s handling of a recent search for the new leader of University of Maine at Augusta.
Sarah Hardy, president of UMF’s faculty senate and a mathematics professor, said the vote “was not taken lightly.”
“We seek to empower [students] to follow their conscience and speak and act with conviction,” she said. “This is the process the Faculty Senate modeled in their nearly week-long deliberations before arriving at their vote of no-confidence in Chancellor Malloy.”
The senate’s resolution says the faculty cuts have gutted UMF’s humanities department and threatened other liberal arts programs. All faculty in the world languages, philosophy and religion, and women’s and gender studies programs have been cut, according to the resolution.
“The nature and scope of these cuts threaten UMF’s identity and mission as a liberal arts college specializing in the preparation of teachers, and makes it impossible for students in multiple programs to complete their majors at their home institution,” the resolution said.
This vote came a week after the UMA vote and just days following the USM vote.
The vote of no confidence at UMA happened after it was revealed that critical information about the man selected to lead the university was withheld from the search committee that selected him.
The College Senate and student government at the State University of New York at Delhi, where the incoming UMA president, Michael Laliberte, has led since 2016, cast votes of no confidence in Laliberte’s leadership less than a year ago.
But Malloy and Sven Bartholomew, the system trustee who led the search committee, didn’t inform the rest of the search committee of the no-confidence vote. Both have since said they regret not sharing the information, which they withheld at the request of an outside consultant guiding the search.
In a statement Wednesday Malloy echoed what he said in reaction to the UMA and USM votes.
“I understand that they are reacting to very difficult decisions and challenges facing UMF. My promise is to continue to work with the faculty, staff, campus leadership and — most importantly — students to protect the unique and high-quality college experience provided by the University of Maine at Farmington,” Malloy said.
Addressing the UMF cuts, Malloy said he is responsible to the university system trustees.
“I know this is hard and I know that there will be those who disagree with this course of action,” he said. “I am accountable for my decision to approve this plan, as difficult as it is, and understand that it is my responsibility to implement the vision and strategies set forth by the Board of Trustees even when that requires incredibly hard choices.”