SUNY Oneonta president Morris resigns after COVID-19 shutdown

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(WUTR-TV) — SUNY Oneonta is now under new leadership.

Former President Barbara Morris informed Chancellor Jim Malatras that she would be leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Malatras would not say if this was due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the start of the fall semester. 

“I think everyone in the community would agree that there were problems, collectively,” said Malatras. “But now we want to move forward. To me, the most important this is: What does the spring look like? How do we bring our students back? How do we get the confidence back into this community that this college can be vibrant and alive again?”

Malatras learned of Morris’ resignation a week ago. On Thursday, he hired Dennis Craig as acting president. 

Craig comes from SUNY Purchase downstate. He was most recently their interim president for the 2019-2020 school year. 

“I don’t have the normal luxury of building trust at a slower pace,” said Craig. “I’m very aware of that. I’m very aware also how traumatizing COVID has been.”

Neither Craig nor Malatras committed to reopening SUNY Oneonta to students in the spring. Craig met with local government officials on Thursday to start his new job.

“I was very encouraged by his sense of community, by his style of encouraging collaboration, and listening, so I look forward to working in partnership with him,” said Mayor of Oneonta Gary Herzig. 

Malatras said that Craig would be president for as long as SUNY needs him to be. They are beginning the search for a permanent president at SUNY Oneonta now.

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