You Are Wrong: The cuts you should have made

Posted on April 07, 2014 in Perspectives
By Thaddeus Moriarty

Ellen Spahn

I’m Thaddeus Moriarty, and you are wrong. Why?

Because you didn’t think that I would be delving into the #USMFuture issue here in You Are Wrong. And why would you? I write about silly things, whimsical things, not emotionally-charged hashtag things. Thaddeus isn’t a writer of seriousness, you thought. He’s a wanna-be Dave Barry, you thought. He doesn’t focus on real-life things, just ant-diets and time machines, you thought.

Well, guess what you are?

See, I care deeply about the goings-on in our little corner of academia, even as I plan my graduation from it in May. If I had the skills, I would write column after column full of statistics and quotations and revelations to truly do justice what the #USMFuture protests stand for. But I don’t. This paper you hold in your hands is brimming with articles written by people smarter and more profound than myself, and they are doing an incredible job of relaying the information straight from the rallies and the Senate meetings to your bated eyes. They deserve every ounce of your appreciation and your respect for their work.

But moi? I choose to avoid the politics, and I choose to avoid the drama and I choose to avoid the seriousness. Thus, when I write this article for you, dear reader, I do it to find facetiousness in the budget ch-ch-changes and the faculty-administration disputes. Never mind that the UMaine system is currently bringing in more money than it is spending and has an impressively large “rainy day” fund. Never mind that the total salaries of the “retrenched” professors equals $728,295.36 (in 2013 salaries), 5.2 percent of the announced $14 million budget shortfall. Never mind that the faculty and program cuts are overwhelmingly targeting the arts and humanities while leaving business, nursing, and athletics intact.

Ahem.

Anyway, with the myriad demonstrations against the faculty and program lawnmowerage, there have been surprisingly few alternatives bandied about by either the #USMFuture gang or Kalikow & Friends Inc. Most of the students calls are for “Fewer cuts!” and the Powers-That-Be tend to reply “La-la-la; I can’t hear you,” which makes the students hold up signs instead, but no one is really throwing up any plans that don’t revolve around putting Meghan Brodie in the provost’s chair. (Okay, I made that plan up. But it would rock.)

Thus, I lend you my not-so-humble services, free of charge. You see, I’ve thought long and hard about this issue, and I believe I have three cuts that can be made to the USM pompadour that everyone can agree on. Well, most people. Alright, so I’ll agree to them anyway. Ready? Seatbelts, everyone.

1. Cut ALL the professors.

This one seems like a no-brainer to me. Clearly the Bored (*snicker* Because it’s like “Board” only…oh, you get it) of Trustees believes that professors are sucking up too much of the school’s hard-earned-from-students-like-me money, so why not just get rid of them all? Think of the savings!

Besides, students can just learn all that they need about whatever-it-is that-students-go-to-university-for from Bing and Ask Jeeves, I’m sure. And there will always be ambitious members of the USM community that would be willing to answer the call of Kalikow and aid in the Googling by their fellow students. Easy, Romeo; you wouldn’t get paid for it.

2. Get rid of one of the school colors.

Few of you probably realize just how much paint goes into a college our size. An arbitrary, made-up number by an unqualified source puts the total spent on paint at $69,420. That’s a ton of straight cash, homey. So how can we fix such a glaring waste of fundage? By nixing one of the school colors, of course.

Here’s a real noodle-baker for you: do you know how many universities have blue and yellow as their colors? Well…er, University of Michigan to name one. But how many are just yellow? Not Michigan! And get this: in the sunlight, you wouldn’t be able to tell if something was even painted or not. More savings!

3. Change the mascot to the USM Fightin’ Shalhoubs.

Graphics cost a lot too, compadres. Every time you see a husky anywhere on campus, that cost money for some design student or clip-artist to make look like a husky, then blow it up to the size of their torso, and then 3D-print it in plastic to put up on the wall or something like that. But if we made our mascot USM’s own Tony Shalhoub, then we could just photoshop him everywhere!

Suddenly, all that design money would be saved, since we would be doing nothing more than buying those big cardboard standees of Tony Shalhoub and putting them all over campus. And whenever we have a sports game and we can’t convince him to be there we can just be like, “Huh, mascot’s missing again.”

In serious culmination, let me leave you with just one thought, dear reader. The #USMFuture movement and the cuts coming from the Powers-That-Be are just getting started. More layoffs have been promised by Presdient Kalikow, and more resistance has been promised by the students and faculty who have pledged their loyalty to this institution. But please, as a student and as a proud Fightin’ Shalhoub: be smart about what you do during these dark times. Be angry, but don’t be violent. Be loud, but don’t be profane. Resist, but don’t break any laws. Organize, plan, and be strong. But please don’t get arrested.

Oh, and if you don’t think that the budget cuts and #USMFuture affects you, friend? Well…

You are wrong.

Thaddeus Moriarty is a senior history major.