The student senate voted no confidence tonight in President Theo Kalikow and her council following a series of cuts on Friday.

More than 20 students gathered tonight at the Woodbury Campus Center in Portland to help the 13 present student senators draft a proposal that will be taken to the upcoming Sunday and Monday Board of Trustees’ meeting in Machias. The group’s no confidence vote was passed almost unanimously, with only one abstaining.

The proposal cites the senators’ disapproval of the recent actions of the president, provost and their council in regard to 12 faculty lay offs Friday and four proposals for program cuts last week. Many present at the meeting said that they were frustrated by the administration’s use of their tuition dollars and said that they also felt that the administration’s recent decisions did not reflect the vision of a metropolitan university envisioned by the work of the Direction Package Advisory Board previously this year.

As a member of the Direction Package Advisory Board, who worked with that body for months to produce recommendations for the president’s council to use in steps forward, Student Body President Kelsea Dunham said that her relationship with the deciding administrators has been sullied by the recent cuts.

For me what [it] feels like is happening right is that that vision is being gutted,” she said. “The vision of an urban metropolitan university is one that is really engaged with the community.

She added that her trust has been broken. “I feel like what’ happening is not in line with that vision.”

Senators  and  the students and alumni who gathered drafted the resolution to represent the sentiments of the student body at large.

“We don’t feel that the seventh floor is doing their best duty,” said student senator Kyle Frazier to the group assembled in the Woodbury amphitheater. He continued that he felt that based upon the group’s lack of confidence in the administration, they should ask that the trustees offer financial and political assistance.

Executive Director for Public Affairs Bob Caswell was contacted by the Free Press earlier today. He told the Free Press that neither President Theo Kalikow nor Provost Michael Stevenson would be available to talk, but that they both hoped to connect with students and the USM community to respond at some point during the week.

The resolution reads:

“The Student Senate of the University of Southern Maine, representing the student body, embraces the concept of a metropolitan university as proposed by the Direction Package Advisory Board. However, we have no confidence in the current administration’s plan to implement a vision in keeping with that ideal. The use of simplistic metrics to determine program and faculty eliminations is not in line with the comprehensive strategic plan that is needed to bring the University of Southern Maine forward.”

After the resolution had passed, Dunham immediately noted when the applause had faded that the vote was a big step for the group. “That felt good,” said vice chair of the senate Will Gattis.





  1. Looks like Kalikow should have retired when she left that cushy job at UMF. As for the students, welcome to the last six years of economic belt tightening.

  2. So facing a 36 million dollar hole what do you expect? People lose their jobs. There are also programs that bring more value to the school and should be protected from cuts. Not all programs are equal.

    • the cuts were disproportionately women, and other minorities within the the departments, and the Faculty union contract was not followed, and the departments they are cutting are those that would be important to a metropolitan university, they are gutting the humanities and geo-sciences departments, and have given no evidence as to how they chose the faculty, other than saying last-in first-out, which they actually didn’t follow. not to mention the people making the decisions all make 175k+ a year… and dont teach a damn thing.

    • You’re right, but the wrong people are losing their jobs. In the end there are definitely going to be some hard cuts, programs and staff, but there are some obvious, less painful cuts that were overlooked for obvious political reasons.

    • The issue at stake is wether or not society values an educated public. Systematically destroying the public university system is a good place to start to keep wages depressed. To keep people from asking questions or organizing. The economics department that was just gutted was one of very few gems in this country that teaches the quantitative side of Modern Monetary Theory. In this study, big questions are asked. Good Americans don’t ask questions… Shhhh. The president of the university is fixing non problems with non solutions. Perhaps she hears the same whispers as our federal government officials. Simpson and Bowles are standing just behind the curtains, whispering their toxic cat food nothings into their ears.

  3. What does this body have to do with the administration of the UM system? do they pay the bills? work on the budget? Have anything to do with the day to day operation of the university or are they just a student body that has no part of the actual operations of the university?

      • If that is the case then why aren’t they represented at the administration level in the decision making process? Or can i assume there may be others that don’t think they know more?

    • These are students. They ARE the UMaine system, population wise, symbolically, economically. Their tuition pays the bills. There’s no such thing as “just Aa student body.” If the student body is not being represented by the administration, than the university is not being represented by the administration.

  4. The ones who get the big bucks and decide who goes aren’t losing their jobs, even though their “Administration” is most responsible for the money problems. And why is enrollment steadily dropping? Probably because potential students are paying attention and seeing the direction USM is going.

  5. Who cares. When these students end up in the real world and have to make real decisions, then they can write up their scary resolutions.

    • We ARE in the real world. In fact most of us work full time, have families, and make big life decisions. To belittle our situation by expressing this isn’t the real world, is an atrocity to our community. Portland is an educated work force, we NEED an educated community. Our university is how we obtain our knowledge, and to restrict how we learn will be limiting to the students, the teachers and the entire community that we all interact with. USM is a university FOR it’s community(it’s even included in the mission statement) it is the individuals who stand up for their right to an education, and who write our “scary resolutions”, who sit in office buildings for hours just to have a single conversation requesting the methods used, it is US, who change the future, not just within our university, but the community in which it resides and effects. We will change future, for the better. And you will sit by and watch. And even though you have done nothing to help our cause, or even believe that you may be effected, your life WILL be benefited by being surrounded by thinkers, and problem solvers. and then, you will be thankful, however undeserving.

      • Okay then, instead of holding your little protest meetings, sit down and develop an alternative plan to make the necessary reductions and base those recommendations on as much research, educational theory, and pragmatic number crunching that was likely included in the process used by the President and her staff.

        • We are trying. The administration will not speak to us. They will not grant us access to numbers or real data. Professors were called at 9pm and given formal notice the next morning. We had no time to respond, and no warning. So we must make noise. “Right defeated is more powerful than evil triumphant” MLK


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