Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Our opinion: Budget cuts in a larger context

Posted on April 15, 2013 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

The results are in, ladies and gentlemen, and the axe has fallen across the board, but particularly in the area of academic affairs, with a whopping 63 percent. Cuts like that can’t help but affect the education of USM students, and as students, we are concerned.

It’s easy to get caught up in the effects the budget cuts will have on students personally, and it should be. These are not theoretical changes; this is our education. The dangerous part of this attitude, however, is that in getting bogged down in the minutiae of which cuts fall in which departments, it is easy to lose sight of the question of where the cuts are coming from to begin with.

USM is part of a larger context within the University of Maine System, and the UMS, as a state school system, is tied inexorably to state politics. Under Paul LePage’s administration, public education at all levels has come under fire, and under the guise of educational reform, already under-funded primary and secondary schools are losing out to charter schools under LePage’s watchful eye. So is it any wonder that higher education is being put through the mill as well?

It is true that LePage does not hold full, despotic control over the UMS budget, but between the tuition freeze and the lack of increase of state appropriations, which LePage does play a significant role in, it is impossible to believe he could not have known that higher education would feel the crunch.

It may seem too early to think about it, but elections grow closer every day. Yes, let’s be critical about where cuts fall; let’s be careful and involved in every way we can be. However, let us not forget that time goes on, and that as capitalists we vote with our wallets, but it’s equally as important to vote with our votes, too. Let’s keep an eye out for candidates with an educational plan we can get behind.

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