Machetes are crude instruments that deliver destruction and mayhem. Scalpels are the antithesis of machetes – they deliver precision and delicacy. In nearly all instances in which excisions need to be made, the scalpel is the appropriate tool.

Unfortunately, the Kalikow administration at the University of Southern Maine has taken a machete to the budget in the name of fiscal responsibility.

As might be expected, the result is a haphazard mess that will leave the curriculum and the faculty in tatters, not to mention devastating the lives and livelihoods of some of its most dynamic professors.

There are two professors who present perfect case studies in the punishing effects of mindless austerity: Julia Edwards of the Political Science Department and Vaishali Mamgain of the Economics Department.

You could not find two more engaged and enthusiastic professors or two faculty members more universally loved and respected among students. I have personally had the pleasure of working closely with both, and I can attest to the profound impact on my evolution as a student and as a human being that both of these fantastic teachers have had.

I can say without equivocation that if it were not for Professors Edwards and Mamgain, I would not be graduating in May, nor would I be set to enter law school this fall. And I am but one of a litany.

We all acknowledge the centrality of high-quality education when it comes to tackling issues such as social mobility, poverty and income inequality.

Words are wind, however, and until we put our public resources where our rhetoric is, we will continue to see draconian budget consolidations (such as that currently under way at the hands of the Kalikow administration), undertaken with all the care of a machete-wielding villain from a bad horror movie. We need a surgeon wielding a scalpel.

Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette

Portland