Dear Free Press,
Like most students and alumni I have been watching the events of the last two days unfold over social media with something akin to horror. As a resent alumnus, I have nothing but a deep since of pride and love for my USM community. As horrible as these cuts are there is a deeper tragedy-taking place. I request that you look to the faulty members whom are being emotionally blackmailed into retirement, to save younger educators and programs.
On such Professor, Duncan Hewitt has chosen to retire to save Kelly Hrenko the only Art Education Professor at USM. Duncan has literality spent his life, giving to the students of USM and is a pillar of the Maine art community. Duncan is a beloved Professor who started the sculpture program (sometime is the 60’s) and has been teaching at USM longer then most of us have walked this earth. He has inspired countless generations of artist and I can honestly say there is no person I respect more.
These stories need to be shared, these Professors who have spent countless years working for USM deserved to retire on there own terms, in a celebratory manor. It truly sickens me that these Professors are being used as sacrificial lambs to appease the administrations hunger for a pound of flesh. President Theodora Kalikow is not just cutting jobs, but rather eviscerating the very soul of our community.
I do not understand how this administration can look someone in the eye, who has been working at USM for twenty plus year’s and essentially say ‘we are throwing you away.” This is not my USM, this is not how a community treats its members and if this is the future of the University if Southern Maine, I fear we have more problems then our budget.
They deserve better, we all do.
2013 BFA Graduate
West Virginia University MFA Student