Lacy: We’re fighting for our right to learn

Posted on March 23, 2014 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Dear USM Administration,

My name is Caleb Lacy. I am a 4th year Theater Major here at USM and a United States Marine Corps Veteran. Theater has always been my life passion. I grew up the youngest of 4 in a lower middle class divorced home, so when I graduated High School there was no parental funding for college. I certainly could have taken out loans but I did not want that debt, and, in all honesty, I wanted to see the world. So I Enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I gave up 5 years of my life and was involved in two different wars across the middle east and when my contract was finally up I began looking at school again. I knew I wanted to study Theater/Musical Theater and that I wanted to stay in New England, So when I saw the Music and Theater programs at USM and the quality they had attained I was instantly smitten. Sure I checked out other places: Emerson, Boston Conservatory, etc., but USM, at the time offered me the best of both worlds. A world class education in my life’s passion and I got to stay in the area I had missed so dearly while I was deployed.

Then last year you began making cuts. Half of an entire program from the school of Music plus a number of faculty including my Vocal Instructor, famed Tenor Bruce Fithian. Then this year you proceed to cut two more faculty from the Theater program and forcibly retire a 3rd. The programs that had drawn me to USM, the resources that had made USM a shining opportunity are now beginning to dwindle. The classes I need to graduate are going to become harder to take and more infrequent. You are viciously cutting what has made USM a school that competes with the likes of expensive private schools like Emerson, Ithaca and so forth.

I very openly oppose these cuts you are making, which is why I stood out front of your office Friday morning at 7:45AM and then watched as the day went on as you fired 3 professors, without any regard for their welfare, who I have personally worked with and respected. Dr Christiansen, a man who has a 1 year old, took time out of his schedule when I was a sophomore to help tutor me in Music Theory! A man with a Doctorate personally tutoring me in his very limited free time is attention that I don’t think students get at Emerson. I have spent this entire semester working very closely with Prof. Joan Mather in the creation of the 30+ costumes for our 3 theatrical productions and learning the fun that is “Stitching and Bitching”. And finally Dr. Meghan Brodie. Dr Brodie has had one of the most profound effects on me since I came to USM. She taught me I have a voice in this world and just how I can combine that with my Art and use both to create social and political change.

In conclusion a small part of me is glad you have chosen these cuts, because you have some of the most amazing faculty here at USM, and they have in-turn imparted that fire and passion onto their students. Now you get to see what happens when those students have a cause that is fight-worthy. To President Theo, these professors who have shown us that we are worthy and responsible of this world, They are now under our protection! I assure you that every professor you try to fire will create 10 more students in that hallway outside the provosts office. We’re fighting for our right to learn. Every program you cut will make our chant louder! We’ll declare in one voice that we will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight.These programs will live on, these programs will survive. We are the USM Future movement and we will stop at nothing to protect our school and our faculty.

Sincerely,
Caleb Lacy
Senior Theater major
United States Marine Corps Veteran