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USM Students, Faculty Rally Against Cuts
04/10/2014  

In mid-March, USM President Theodora Kalikow proposed the elimination of four academic programs, totaling $14 million in cuts - or 10 percent of the school's total fiscal year budget.

USM Rally 6

USM students and faculty protest impending cuts at the southern Maine school at a rally today in downtown Portland.

About 200 students, faculty and supporters gathered in Monument Square in Portland this afternoon, protesting recent faculty and program cuts at the University of Southern Maine.

In mid-March, USM President Theodora Kalikow proposed the elimination of four academic programs, totaling $14 million in cuts - or 10 percent of the school's total fiscal year budget.

USM Rally 4Among those speaking was Meghan Brodie, USM assistant professor of Theatre and Women and Gender Studies, who is being laid off.

"You are not cookie cutter customers," she told the crowd. "You are students with individual needs and goals, and you deserve mentorship. Demand more."

After speeches, the crowd marched through Portland escorted by city police cruisers.

The recent proposed cuts at USM are just part of a $36 million funding gap within the University of Maine System, which officials blame on flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition locks.

The students at the rally say they favor a retroactive moratorium on the layoffs and program eliminations at USM, pending an independent audit of UMaine system financing.

This story was reported and written by Caroline Losneck, with help from Ed Morin.

Photos: Caroline Losneck



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