Those of us who care about the future of the University of Southern Maine as a university must applaud the affirmation by interim President David T. Flanagan and Provost Joseph W. McDonnell of the institution’s identity as a metropolitan university (“Off Campus: USM will survive and prosper by becoming a ‘metropolitan’ university,” Sept. 8).

“Metropolitan” is, after all, what describes a genuine university: a shelter and wellspring of heterogeneous, diverse and often unconventional study and ideas, fueled by the great variety of experiences that urban places provide.

Let us hope that USM’s new leadership gives serious consideration to hiving off the Gorham campus. USM cannot continue to shrink the content and diversity of its academic program offerings in order to sustain a suburban residential college and base for its athletic activities.

The university’s splendid arts productions could benefit from relocating to Portland and would certainly benefit Portland by being more available to the city’s population, not all of whom can or want to undertake the drive of a half-hour or more on slow roads to hear and see them.

Local sentiment here and in Augusta will continue to appeal for maintaining the Gorham campus. Thus far, heeding that sentiment has been done at the cost of the vitality of the university proper in Portland. And continuing to do so is inconsistent with a truly “metropolitan” university.

Sylvia Kraemer


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