Friday, January 9, 2015

Maine universities aren’t corporate outposts. Budget decisions should be made accordingly

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.

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