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The embattled incoming president of the University of Maine at Augusta has withdrawn

 Michael Laliberte
Michael Laliberte

The University of Maine System plans to launch a new search for a president at the University of Maine at Augusta after accepting the withdrawal of incoming president Michael Laliberte amid an ongoing controversy over his selection.

On Sunday, the system announced that after discussions with Laliberte, it was determined that it was "in the best interest of all parties" for him to voluntarily resign.

The decision comes after weeks of scrutiny over the presidential search process at UMA. Faculty at the school and other UMaine campuses voted no-confidence in the search process — and in System Chancellor Dannel Malloy, who failed to disclose a no-confidence vote against Laliberte at his former university, the State University of New York at Delhi.

In a joint statement, Malloy, Laliberte and Trustee Sven Bartholomew said that they felt it was best to "listen to and support the UMA Faculty Senate in their desire" to revisit the presidential search, and said they are "committed to listening to the voices of our faculty."

Board Chair Mark Gardner added in a separate statement that the board accepts "the Chancellor's accountability for the mistakes made" in the search, and the board plans to work with him to ensure confidence in future searches.

A search for a new UMA president will launch next fall. The system says UMA Provost and Interim President Joe Szakas will continue to serve in the post through June 30 of next year.

The system says that under a withdrawal agreement, Laliberte will receive pay for the first year that he would have served as UMA president, and could earn additional pay depending on his future employment.