Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Our opinion: Administrators and BoT need to listen to USM concerns

Posted on September 13, 2014 in Our Opinion
By USM Free Press

The atmosphere at USM is tense, and both the administration and board of trustees should seriously consider moving the September BoT meeting back to USM where it was originally scheduled.

Times are tough here and we all know that there will be cuts, eliminations and retrenchments this year. Students will lose professors, professors will lose colleagues and we’re willing to bet USM will lose some students and prestige. Last year took a toll on this university, and this year is set to be even worse.

The administration had an awful reputation last year of not listening to the questions, concerns and requests of students, staff and faculty at USM.

Not allowing those affected by program eliminations to easily access the meeting in which the fate of three programs will be decided is unacceptable. Fort Kent is essentially on the Canadian border. A meeting with such sensitive issues on the agenda should be placed in a more centralized location.

The explanation of the meeting locations being changed for weather-related concerns is embarrassing. We’re all Mainers and can deal with whatever weather the world throws at us. Last year USM students definitely weathered their fair share of storms to get to class when the campus wasn’t shut down.

If the BoT was able to change their meeting space once, they can do it again.

The university has a serious public relations problem, but the most troubling relationship is the one it has with it’s student (or customers as they’ve come to be called). The same offices that promote student work in the community and in the classroom in order to attract more students are the same offices that refuse to listen when the students speak up about what they want from their experiences here.

To address this problem, leaders of the administration need to take a second and listen to the concerns of students and their employees. And by listen we don’t mean simply being present in the room while people talk. We mean actually listening, taking the concerns and suggestions of people actively involved in the university and trying to work them into our plans for the future.

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