The ghost in the machine at USM has a name, and I think we all know what it is. Provost Stevenson has always been pretty ghostly, but since President Kalikow backpedaled on his least popular decision without bothering to let him know ahead of time, he’s been downright incorporeal –– we have a heck of a time even tracking him down for photos, and we’re at every meeting we can get our hands on at this campus.

In fact, the majority of the inquiries the Free Press has sent to the Provost since March when trying to get a comment from him about one of the many pies he’s got his theoretical thumbs in have gone unanswered, and one of the most recent responses we did get was unsatisfactory bordering on insulting.

Now, we don’t like to gossip, but when we’re told that there are “other discussions that might be more beneficial,” we start to wonder who those discussions are meant to be more beneficial to, and what game our Provost thinks we’re playing.

Of course, we’re all ears –– we hope to hear exactly what discussions the provost thinks would be more beneficial (Beneficial to us? Beneficial to you? Certainly beneficial not to him, we’re sure.), but we’d also still like to know what the next step is after the retrenchments-that-weren’t, and we’re still curious about what, exactly, is up with staff cuts, and we’d really like to know where he got his information about what the departmental needs of the CAHS programs were, if it wasn’t from the CAHS dean.

And speaking of staff cuts, what about them? We wanted to write an article on staff cuts this week and many readers are asking for this story, but most of what we turned up was that they can happen at any time, and that our administration doesn’t feel compelled to answer any questions about them for us.

We spent last week using this particular stretch of newsprint to implore this university for a bit more transparency, and this is what we mean. If an indeterminate number of the people who keep this university running may or may not be fired here every day, and we start asking questions about it, the answers should be somewhere for us to find. We’re not asking for it to be easy (though, you know, we wouldn’t exactly mind that, either), but we would dearly love it if university officials would make some of the answers to some of these questions a bit more possible.

Our Opinion is written by the Free Press editorial board.


  1. The paper of record at a public university should be able to get access to leadership but one would also expect that faculty would see the Provost and that has not been the case either.


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