Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Our opinion: USM needs to consider its reputation with students

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Our Opinion, Perspectives
By USM Free Press

“I can’t wait to leave USM.”


This is a phrase we’ve heard far too often for comfort lately. When the student body isn’t content and alternative acronyms for the university like “University of Struggling with Money” and “Um, Sorry, Man” are becoming regular jokes in the hallways, it’s up to administrative leaders to listen and address the situation.

63 people, one after another, spoke against eliminating the undergrauate French and graduate applied medical scienes programs, but the board of trustees still choseto axe them with an overwhelming affirmative vote.

Students spoke directly to the BoT, some saying that these two programs were the only reasons they were at USM, or in college at all. Students have come to USM over other universities for these programs. Some students have continued their education soley beause of the relationships they’ve formed with the faculty and advisors in these programs.

Most everyone at USM understands that the university is in a dire financial situation and that we aren’t going to be the same USM five or 10 years down the road, but we cannot continue to ditch programs without adequate data or worthwhile input from the community.

Cutting programs and forcing expensive faculty will save, USM, money, but it will cost the administration the trust of the students – the customers.

Leaders at USM and at the system-level need to recognize that word spreads like wildfire in Maine and that the word across the state right now is simple: Don’t go to USM, it’s going down.

BoT chair Samuel Collins equated the program eliminations to plugging a hole in a sinking ship, but what the board doesn’t understand is that most students are going to jump overboard at the first sight of water. And new students don’t sign-up for boat trips when there are rumors the captain is constantly repairing the vessel with passengers and crew member.

Boat analogies aside, USM needs to handle it’s bad PR, not with the  local papers, but with its students.

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