Newly appointed University of Southern Maine President David T. Flanagan has the future of USM in his hands. I hope he is brave enough to find real solutions without gutting academic curricula and cultural diversity.

Maine’s motto states clearly “Dirigo.” We do not walk the worn-out path muddied by the masses who, believing that others must know the answer, follow behind popular trends. We do our own thinking, and we can come up with better answers for the people of Maine.

As a business owner, I know that selling off irreplaceable material assets in a buyers market is irreversible, controversial, and unwise for the long-term health of an institution.

Judicious consolidation and modernization of dorm and other spaces is a good investment, but USM also has the potential to be a true leader by investing in permanent savings through improved weatherization and in the great potential for generation of free, renewable green and alternate energy from the vast supply of solar and wind energy now going to waste on campus.

A university should not be expected to turn a profit as if it were a business. Nor is it a technical school generating producers and consumers. A university’s product is an educated citizenry able to create a better future, make better decisions and improve society in ways that mere money cannot buy.

To improve the university, improve the quality of education. Adjunct faculty with real-world experience can be excellent educators. Find savings though reducing waste, not by reducing excellence.

University employees are servants of the people of Maine, not cogs in an industrial machine. We will not stand for a temporary false impression of solvency by trading excellence for expedience by selling off the material gifts that speak to Maine’s heritage.

Tina Lee


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