The Bangor Daily News
January 8th, 2015
The American Association of University Professors, which I headed for several years, will be sending a team of experts to the University of Southern Maine
this month to investigate whether the alleged budget crisis facing USM
and the entire University of Maine System (UMS) is real; and, if so,
whether the process used to eliminate certain academic programs and lay off faculty were in accord with the best practices of academic freedom and university governance.
That the AAUP has committed its resources to an on-site investigation
indicates that there exists probable cause for suspecting that the
planned mass terminations of faculty at USM were done without sufficient
consultation with the faculty. Following the visit, the investigation
team will issue a report that could lead to USM’s censure
if it is concludes that the faculty’s academic freedom was violated;
sanction if they conclude that shared governance was compromised; or a
finding that UMS and USM’s actions were warranted. Censure and sanction
stand as a scarlet letter in the academic world and serve as a red flag
to the nation’s best qualified faculty to shun the censured institution.