This is a letter was written by USM alumni Wade Linebaugh.
Dear Provost Stevenson,
If the news has it right, you’re either currently meeting–or about to meet–with as many as 10 (or more?) faculty members in order to terminate them. If this is indeed true, this action is unconscionable. The path I see USM going down makes me sick. Not only are students not customers, universities are not businesses beholden to the whims of job markets. The mission of a university is not to serve “job creators.” You are an officer of an institution of higher learning, and you have the power not to do this. You can avoid this miscarriage of justice and education.
I’m a graduate of USM. I’ve bragged–honestly! bragged!–about the education I got there. I graduated with an English degree and I found myself better prepared for life and for school than people I knew from name brand schools, from small liberal arts colleges, from local comprehensive universities much like USM. My education is something I value more than anything in the world, and I thank USM for that. I don’t care if it yields a return on investment or if employers know that an English degree is significantly more useful than it seems. I care that my old department isn’t gutted. I care that other departments like mine across the University aren’t similarly dismantled.
I teach because of USM. That’s my job. That’s what I do. And you, right now, firing faculty, are making the school a worse place. And you don’t have to do it. So stop. Just don’t. Walk out of your office, cancel the meetings, and refuse to be the hatchet man responsible for ruining a place that I–and countless others–love.
And if you don’t follow my advice, maybe The Free Press can print my letter to you so everyone can see it. USM’s alumni, it’s students, and communities across Southern Maine are watching. We won’t allow you to dismantle our school.