Botman reiterates commitment to USM in face of criticism

Posted on April 03, 2012 in News
By Noah Hurowitz

President Botman speaks to TV reporters Tuesday afternoon in Wishcamper Center.
Paul Koenig
President Botman speaks to TV reporters Tuesday afternoon in Wishcamper Center.

University of Southern Maine President Selma Botman told members of the media today that she has no plans to resign in the face of a potential vote of no confidence from faculty.

“I remain fully and unalterably committed to USM,” Botman told reporters in Wishcamper Center.

The Bangor Daily News reported Monday that some faculty are circulating a petition to hold a vote of no confidence in Botman following controversial administrative pay raises amidst large budget cuts. Although two of the most controversial pay raises — those given to Executive Director of Public Affairs Bob Caswell and Tim Stevens, senior advisor to the president — were rescinded, staff and faculty have reacted angrily to what some say they see as an administration out of touch.

A recent survey of faculty conducted by the USM branch of the Associated Faculty of the University of Maine and provided to The Free Press by a faculty member revealed a high degree of faculty discontent. Over 75 percent of respondents either said they “strongly disagree” or “somewhat disagree” with the statement: “Top level administrators are providing competent leadership at USM.”

Botman said she is meeting with groups of faculty to address concerns and plan for the future of the university. “We talk to each other, and I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the faculty,” she said. “I’d hope they could put themselves in mine.”