Jim Thelen, the vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and chief legal officer of the University of Maine System, has resigned for medical reasons, according to university officials.

Thelen sent notice of his resignation to the UMaine System on Wednesday. In a letter to colleagues, Thelen cited personal stress as the reason for his departure. He said he made the decision after consulting with his doctor.

James B. Thelen Courtesy of UMaine System

“While many of our colleagues have borne significant stress for a variety of reasons over the last few years — most notably the pandemic, of course — my own stress has become unbearably intense and acute of late, and after consultation with my doctor, I believe it is necessary that I step down as soon as possible to maintain and preserve my health and wellbeing,” he wrote in an email to administrators obtained by the Kennebec Journal.

System spokesperson Margaret Nagle said Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy accepted Thelen’s resignation.

Thelen worked in Malloy’s office and his resignation comes weeks after Malloy received three votes of no confidence from the University of Maine at Augusta, University of Southern Maine and University of Maine at Farmington. Malloy’s contract expires June 30, and trustees have not decided whether to renew it.

Thelen sat alongside Malloy when Malloy spoke with the University of Maine at Augusta faculty after it was revealed Malloy knew Michael R. Laliberte, the newly named UMA president, had received votes of no confidence at his former university, the State University of New York at Delhi.


As chief legal officer, Thelen also oversaw legal affairs for the seven-school university system, including responding to Freedom of Access Act requests.

The resignation is “not related to the University of Maine at Augusta presidential search or the actions taken by faculty since then,” Nagle said.

According to Nagle, the circumstances in which Malloy’s contract will be discussed have not been formalized. A special meeting for the board of trustees has to be scheduled in order for the contact renewal process to start, and no public meeting has been scheduled yet, Nagle said, ensuring the public would be notified when it is.

“Consideration of the chancellor’s contract would not happen during the two currently scheduled committee meetings,” Nagle said.

The next meetings are the Academic and Student Affairs Committee on June 6, and the Finance, Facilities and Technology Committee on June 22.

According to public records from the University of Maine System, Thelen made $249,564 in the past fiscal year and has been with the system since 2015, when he served as a general legal counsel. He started his latest position in May 2021.

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