Josh Malcolm, former NCSBE chair, leaves UNC Pembroke as WBTV sues for his communication records

Updated: Oct. 14, 2019 at 8:41 PM EDT
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PEMBROKE, N.C. (WBTV) - Josh Malcolm, the former chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, has resigned from his full-time job as general counsel at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, effective this Thursday.

Malcolm’s resignation was announced to faculty and staff in an email sent by Chancellor Robin Cummings last week but was little known outside of campus as of Monday afternoon.

“General Counsel Joshua Malcolm has submitted his resignation from UNC Pembroke. His last day at the university will be Thursday, October 17, 2019,” Cummings’ email said. “I am very grateful for Joshua’s many contributions to our university during his 12 years, and I wish him the best in the next chapter of his life. As an alum with deep family connections to UNCP, he has been a consistent advocate for the university and community.”

The email did not give a reason for Malcolm’s departure and a university spokeswoman declined to provide one when asked by a reporter Monday.

Malcolm’s resignation comes as WBTV has pressed in court for months of his communications related to the 2018 election sent using university accounts and devices.

WBTV first requested communication records from UNC Pembroke--including emails, text messages, instant messages and phone logs, among other things--sent and received by Malcolm related to the 2018 election this past January, after a previous investigation revealed Malcolm had frequent contact with a well known Bladen County Democrat.

Previous: Records show NCSBE Chair had frequent contact with figure in NC-09 investigation during ’18 election

UNC Pembroke has yet to produce a single record in response to WBTV’s ten month old request, despite repeatedly saying some records were ready for production and others were being reviewed.

As the university’s general counsel, Malcolm’s office has been responsible for fulfilling the records request.

WBTV filed a lawsuit against Cummings, the university chancellor, and UNC System Interim President Bill Roper in August.

Roper’s staff was involved in handling the the request from WBTV, too, according to the lawsuit.

An attorney for Cummings and Roper have not yet filed a response to the public records lawsuit.

Malcolm, whose motion to not certify the results of the 9th Congressional District race in late November 2018 set up the chain of events that led to a special election for the seat this past September, has previously refused requests for an interview regarding his communication regarding election matters while serving on the NCSBE.

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