I was pleased to read that current University of Southern Maine students are standing up against the Kalikow administration’s austerity agenda in the recent Press Herald article, “USM Student Senate passes resolution against budget cut decisions” (March 24).

I am considerably less pleased that the administration continues, over a sizable and growing protest movement, to hold up a manipulated and overstated financial pseudo-crisis as the supposed basis for its ideologically driven downsizing and reshaping of the university.

Despite the seemingly endless, hypnotic repetitions of the buzz-phrase, “metropolitan university,” I have not yet been lulled into agreement with the cynical and shortsighted gutting of USM’s educational services.

I am a USM graduate and one of the few young people who moved to Portland from out of state in the last decade to set down roots here as a small-business owner who participates in my local community.

A major factor in my decision to do this was the possibility of completing my bachelor’s degree at an affordable school in an urban environment offering cultural attractions and fairly close proximity to a larger city like Boston. (There is no chance that Orono ever could have enticed me so – none.)

Yet when I managed to squeak through it, USM’s sociology program was already on the ropes, and from what I understand, the department is currently threatened with even deeper cuts. This is sad because studying sociology helped me to develop an interest that has changed my relationship with the world around me in an enormously positive way.

USM is a public institution, not a business, and it should be operated for the public benefit, even if that goes against the political will of our statewide 1 percent. I say, “no” to austerity at USM and “yes” to the expansion of publicly funded higher education.

Evan Long

Portland