University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy listens to presentations during the board meeting May 22, 2022 at the Glickman Library at the University of Southern Maine. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

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The taxpayers of Maine have every right and reason to be outraged at the latest boondoggle within the University of Maine System (UMS). It’s shameful enough that the chancellor withheld crucial information from a presidential search committee, and even more shameful that a deal was cut with the selected candidate to withdraw before spending one day in the office. This is worse than a “bungled” process. I think it is an outright scam, and it requires a thorough investigation by the governor’s office. The people should demand it.

As for Michael Laliberte, he should go away quietly without a single taxpayer’s dollar in his pocket. In my opinion, he lied by omission to the search committee. Does this justify a golden parachute ( possibly amounting to $600,00)? If the UMS trustees have this kind of money to throw around, it would be much better used to endow scholarships (non-athletic) for deserving students. As for the chancellor, I think he should also go because his leadership is now under a permanent cloud.    

The history of UMS chancellors’ tenure is a sorry one, averaging less than 5 years, and the history of presidents’ tenures at the Orono campus is no better, averaging less than 5 years since 1958. Prior to 1958, presidential tenures, excluding Arthur Hauck’s 24-year incumbency, averaged over 8 years.

Don’t tell me “times have changed.” I know that. But the principles of “right” and “wrong” have not changed, no matter how politicians and corporate CEOs have tried to distort them.

Harold A. Wheeler


Election notice: The BDN has stopped accepting letters and commentary related to the June 14 primary election. Not all submissions can be published.