At a packed informational session of the Faculty Senate Friday, President Kalikow proposed cutting two undergraduate majors, one graduate program and the arts and humanities major on the Lewiston-Auburn campus.

Kalikow proposed cutting the American and New England studies graduate program and undergraduate programs in recreation and leisure studies and geoscience. Geoscience is chaired by Stephen Pollock, who received a Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Society of America last October.

“This is not a threat, this is an opportunity,” Kalikow said in reference to the arts and humanities program at Lewiston-Auburn. However, Kalikow’s proposals met with significant resistance from the faculty.

After Kalikow’s presentation, Pollock registered his objections to the proposed cutting of his department. “We excelled at teaching. We engage our students. We take them to national conferences. We encourage them to conduct research. They have led national meetings,” Pollock said. He noted that each faculty member in the geosciences department publishes regularly

“I am not leaving this place without a fight. I think this is very shortsighted of you to have done this,” Pollock said.

Women and gender studies professor Wendy Chapkis also objected to the proposed cuts. “For the last 10 years we’ve been asked to do more with less,” Chapkis said. She advocated cutting administrators, including associate deans and provosts before cutting faculty members.

Provost Michael Stevenson is a member of the President’s Council, the group that has been advising Kalikow about what cuts to make in the wake of the final presentation of the Direction Package Advisory Board on Feb. 28. “We are unable to support financially all the programs that we have,” Stevenson told the senate.

Stevenson was referring to the budget shortfall of $14 million that was projected in February for USM’s fiscal year that begins on July 1 .Kalikow later told the Free Press that the proposed cuts would cover half of the projected budget shortfall.

“These things are never simple,” Kalikow told the Free Press. She said that she expected there to be extensive discussion of the proposed cuts before the Faculty Senate’s formal report on the proposals is due in May.

The discussion has already begun. “I think that done properly a budget cut and subsequent reallocation of funds can and should boost enrollment and ‘fix’ the problems at the university. However, simply slashing expenses can only hurt the university. I have very little confidence in our current leadership to accomplish any sort of growth for our university,” said junior criminology major Jeffrey Rollo to the Free Press.

Kalikow said that, in addition to cutting costs, there will also be efforts made to boost revenue. She declined to explain what these efforts will be, but said that she would explain further on Wednesday, when she and Chancellor James Page will be holding an open meeting to discuss goals for the future of USM.

Chancellor Page has been publicly supportive of USM’s work on the Direction Package since the Faculty Senate meeting in November. At Friday’s senate meeting, he said, “This is a problem that will haunt us each and every year until we have a structure to better serve the university and community.”

Recent American and New England Studies graduate Kate McMahon saw the proposed cuts as problematic for the future of the state. “Many of my colleagues–myself included–who have wished to go on to doctoral degrees have had to leave the state altogether, further contributing to the aging of the Maine population and the exodus of the best and brightest out of state,” she said.

“With the continued loss of degree programs so vital to what USM has been, I cannot believe that anything but a further decline in the quality of education for young people in Maine [will result],” said McMahon.

Kalikow’s proposed cuts to the USM curriculum will not be finalized until the Faculty Senate make their final recommendations on May 5, but they will be included in theprojected budget for next year to the Board of Trustees, which she will submit to begin to be reviewed in April.

Anthony Emerson, Francis Flisiuk, Kirsten Sylvain and Sam Hill contributed to this article.


  1. My sentiments echo those of McMahon. I will be leaving the state this summer to get my MA in History and then my PhD. We continue to make cut back after cut back in our programs and then complain that enrollment is down. How are we, as a university, going to attract more students with less programs, and by lessening the quality in the ones we keep?

    • There was a time when women’s studies was important but with more women than men in college and entering the professions, that time is ending. Same is true of WASP male studies. Women have arrived, WASP males have arrived, and neither group needs a special academic field any more.

      • Can we please not attack one another and focus on protecting all critical programs within USM? Women and Gender Studies has one faculty line divided between two people who also teach in other disciplines. It is an inexpensive but vital program. Try taking a class in WGS and see if you still think gender is now an unimportant issue.

        • While Gender and Women’s Studies may be of great personal interest to Professor Chapkis, do we want to ask an undergraduate to incur debt on such a dubious subject?

    • Apparently Geosciences has been bringing in too much grant money and we can’t have that. I propose we get rid of that Geo-Anthro program too! Free up all that lab space for athletics or something. As an added plus we would get rid of that pesky GIS Certification program that provides the skills for an in demand job, and USM can’t have that.

  2. Cutting the Geoscience program would be a detrimental loss to the university! Even though I only had to take a basic intro course for an elective, I thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Pollock as a professor and actually got excited about, rocks. It was evident that there was a passion from the faculty and students within the Geoscience program that represented the core of academia, passion of the study.

    Hearing that ANES is proposed to be cut shocks me. It’s one of the few graduate programs offered within Maine that can be applied to local libraries, archives and museums (LAMs). This is a great program is you want to pursue a historical education career. I wanted to work with databases, so this program didn’t apply to me. I had to go out of state to get an MS in library science. There was no incentive in Maine to bring me back. Seeing ANES hover over the chopping block reaffirms many cultural institution fears that the Arts will continue to suffer at the educational level, which trickles down to the work force. If people don’t obtain these sorts of degrees, an expertise is being lost to support LAMs for the future. If this is happening at the state level, it’s clearly already happening at the national level.

    • Add this into having USM progress into a “Metropolitan University” and it make sense to cut a program that is deeply involved in Portland’s history.

  3. Please consider writing to the chancellor, the board of trustees and your legislators to argue for supporting public higher education. Four departments have been targeted for now but this is really about the lack of support for public higher education. A Leach and Sarah make excellent points about the long term effects of dwindling support for public higher education.

    • They “argue for supporting higher education”? In the last 30 years the federal government has gone from funding 80% of public universities to now about a quarter. They are so effective at protecting our funds and our education! I’m really glad to have such ineffective bigots representing me and supposedly “supporting higher education”!

  4. What is the job of a provost anyways? What is Michael Stevenson doing as an individual to benefit higher education as a whole? Why don’t we just cut administration jobs? If we take away these administration positions that are effectively diminishing the quality of higher education at the public and private level, maybe quality of education would be placed in the hands of the educators themselves.
    A revolution is not a dinner party!

      • Here is the link to the minor, which I believe has been offered for at least ten years: i

        There is also state manufacturing installed at The Advanced Manufacturing Center employing student labor and the U of M recently sold a chunk of this tax payer funded University to the Chinese government under the brand name- Confucius Institute- which is really the Dongbei University of Finance and Economics – check out the departments on that website and it is clear that it is a university of global capitalism with a Chinese language school- clearly intended to be the international language of the new global capitalist world order. The Chinese government pays the University of M to install the institution on campus, pays for maintenance and provides instructors and materials. the PPH described the one at USM as the first- implicating more to come !

        I say when a University sells a chunk to a foreign government , that University – they should forfeit all American and state tax payer subsidization. The University of M doesn’t need the tax payer dollars when they could be selling chinks for our educational system off to other foreign governments such as Iran- North Korea. They could be making billions that way!

        I searched the curriculum at the University of M for the Federalist papers and came up empty.

  5. We are the tax payers. We can demand the results we expect. Stop voting for bonds supporting the university of Maine system until they behave in a manner in which we approve. It is just that simple.

  6. I am absolutely disgusted that a University, charged with educating Americans along with foreign students, a University receiving American taxpayer dollars would suggest cutting the American and New England Studies Program from its offerings.
    Thoroughly repugnant.
    Cutting Geoscience, are you SERIOUS?
    Of all the offerings, those are the most justifiable cuts you can come up with?

  7. A “metropolitan” University should espouse culture along with technology. American and New England Studies students are employed by museums, historical societies, preservation organizations, archeological studies, archives, national trusts and other institutions that serve to protect and teach the rich history of this Great State. I’m sorry, but Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are not opening offices in Portland anytime soon.

  8. I’m so upset by this entire situation. My department is in danger of being cut, but with the language used by the president in today’s meeting, i only heard things like “we are sorry we have to cut these programs,” rather than how we have been told that these are just proposals. Perhaps this was a simple mistake, but I think it is pretty telling of how the administration is leaving. It just befuddles me that the board is so deadset on integrating USM into the community, yet they are cutting my major which requires over 600 hours spent in the community doing internships, practicum and service-learning hours. How much more community-oriented could we possibly get? Not to mention their lack of answers when we asked how these programs were chosen. Our department is one of the fastest growing at school and provided USM with a profit last year, so it does not seem like numbers were involved. I’m anxious to see how it all plays out and I am so proud of my fellow classmates that stood up for the department today.

    • Meanwhile amid all the controversy over cuts- there is a new minor in leadership being created. It just so happens that Professor Powell – who will be running the new minor -has ties to the legislature and China. You wonder how decisions are made? I believe the answer is connected to the unconstitutional economic development statutes that have superseded the Maine state constituion and self- authorizing the legislature to centrally mange the state economy- which means centrally managing everything. The University of Maine is an instrumentality of the state- which is now Maine State Inc- and the University is a great tool of indoctrination. The economic development policies of Maine State Inc prioritize global capitalism over all things local – thus a full embrace of China- follow the money ! the legislature has a targeted sector- which also implies an un-targeted sector- or in a different lexicon- the proletariat, The legislature serves the interests of its “targeted sector” – exclusively,

  9. Posters in this discussion should consider writing the Government Oversight Committee which is doing the OPEGA Review of the distributions of taxpayer funds going to the University of M. I wrote – and re-sent several times -but the House of Lords does not respond to me as I am expressing a point of view that is off the grid of the hegemony of political power in this state so how can one expect our House of Lords to know HOW to respond to anything outside the closed thinking of the hegemony?

    None the less – a barrage of voices from the sectors discounted by a legislature dedicated to serving only the interests of their own “targeted sector” would be a good thing- even if the legislature does not respond.

    This is my letter. You will find all the email addresses you need at the top. Write Your Own- the legislature is SUPPOSED to be serving all the people of this state- Remind them!


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