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USM Students and Faculty Occupy Administrative Offices in Protest of Proposed Cuts
03/21/2014 1:20 PM ET  

A group of more than 60 students occupied the 7th floor of the University of Southern Maine law building to protest termination of faculty during a meeting at which at least a dozen faculty members expect to be laid off.

USM Student Protest

PORTLAND, Maine _ One week ago, USM President Theo Kalikow announced plans to cut four programs and between 20 and 30 faculty jobs and between 10 and 20 additional staff position cuts as the school attempts to overcome a $14 million budget shortfall.

A spokesperson for USM said the exact number of layoffs is expected to be announced later in the day. The number of faculty members choosing to retire this year will determine the number of positions that will be cut according to the spokesperson.

The students and faculty gathered outside the office of Provost Michael R. Stevenson in an attempt to disrupt the meetings being held behind closed doors where the determination of the number of cuts are being made according to one student organizer who asked not to be named.

Kalikow last week said the school must evolve from a liberal arts college to a “metropolitan university” that was closely connected with local businesses, residents and politicians. She announced the proposed cuts of four academic programs and as many as 50 faculty and staff positions as a result of a budget shortfall of nearly 10 percent of the school’s fiscal year 2015 budget.

USM Student Protest SignThe USM programs targeted for discontinuation are the American and New England studies graduate program; the geosciences and recreation-and-leisure studies majors at the Portland and Gorham campuses; and the arts and humanities major at Lewiston-Auburn College, which is part of USM.

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