Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Student Senate condemns program eliminations

Posted on October 27, 2014 in News
By USM Free Press

By: Alex Huber


It took only 18 days for the administration to finalize the elimination of the undergraduate French and graduate applied medical science programs, and the Student Senate fought the proposal every step of the way.

The senate passed two resolutions in their recent meetings that they felt voiced the concerns of the senate and the student body as a whole in regard to the program eliminations. Four senators attended the board of trustees meeting where the programs were cut last Friday and voiced their concerns there as well.

“The student body as a whole  feel the cuts are negative,” said student senator Tom Bahun, who headed the writing of the two resolutions. “We need to be finding alternative solutions. Cuts lead to more cuts.”

President David Flanagan has stated that the program eliminations, combined with 50 faculty position eliminations, would cut USM’s $16 million budget deficit by six-million and that only 50 students would be affected in those programs. Students and faculty at the board of trustees meeting repeatedly told the board that they were only considering majors in those programs and the number of affected students would be much higher.

According to the administration the cuts would affect 50 students; however the number of students who are impacted may be much higher. The proposed cuts have met opposition from both student and faculty groups who believe that there are less invasive ways to close the gap.

The senate formed an ad hoc investigation committee that will aim to address the declining enrollment at USM and poor morale prevalent among the student body. The resolution condemns the program eliminations, as well as plans to eliminate any faculty positions, claims that the decision to axe the programs was made with insufficient time and data and tasks the senate with offering alternative solutions to the financial situation.

The timeline for community input is far too rushed, say student senators.

“We were given 18 days to come up with a solution, we had no possible way to do that,” senate chair Joshua Dodge told the board of trustees. “We want to work with you, not against you, but we need time.”

“I would urge you to give us time to look at the complete data and not with this tunnel vision,” said Bahun.

The senate resolutions, which were both passed unanimously, recognized the student body’s need for credentialed educators, worthwhile courses, and meaningful programs that will result in quality degrees.

“The quality of our education is not ensured unless the program is ensured,” said Bahun, stating that students not only leave USM, but the state if program offerings continue to diminish. “I understand that faculty need to be cut but cutting a program outright is a horrible solution.”

The senate believes the university is being weakened by the elimination of programs and faculty and that the potential long-term effects don’t outweigh short-term problems the university will face.

Dodge said, “We don’t believe these cuts are in the interest of the student body.”


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