Upset by faculty layoffs and program cuts planned at the University of Southern Maine, the Student Senate on Saturday night passed a vote of no-confidence in USM President Theodora Kalikow.

Kalikow responded Sunday night by saying it will take “hard and painful decisions” to balance revenues and expenses at the university, and it’s necessary to “move ahead.”

The resolution expressing the Student Senate’s displeasure with the university’s handling of a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall was presented to Kalikow and the University of Maine System board of trustees Sunday afternoon during a trustees meeting in Machias, according to USM spokesman Robert Caswell.

Caswell noted that the vote of no-confidence is an opinion only.

The 13 student senators are protesting the administration’s handling of a $14 million budget shortfall that has resulted in plans for faculty layoffs and other program cuts at USM.

“It’s good to see students speak out on behalf of their university,” Kalikow said in a statement released Sunday night. “We share the goal of implementing the vision of USM as a metropolitan university. But we first have to make sure that our revenues and expenses are balanced, year in and year out. That is going to take some hard and painful decisions. There is a lot of debate how to accomplish this but we need to move ahead.”


The Student Senate vote took place Saturday night at the Woodbury Campus Center in Portland while about 20 other students watched.

Student Senate Vice Chairman Will Gattis, a senior economics major, said the Student Senate had been working closely with the administration all year and was surprised by its budget-cutting decisions.

“Everything has changed in the past few days,” Gattis said.

On Friday, about 100 USM students protested outside the office of the provost on the Portland campus as a dozen faculty members got layoff notices.

The USM cuts are part of $36 million in cuts being made throughout the University of Maine System.

In addition to its session Sunday, the board of trustees will meet again Monday at the University of Maine at Machias.


The board is examining 26 candidates for tenure from five of the system’s seven universities, The Associated Press reported. It is also considering several proposals regarding university facilities, including the University of Maine at Farmington’s request to renovate Dearborn Gymnasium, the AP said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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