It is heartbreaking to read of the severe and frequent cuts being made at the University of Southern Maine to programs that are truly the soul of a liberal education. How can USM call itself a university without teaching languages, for example?

While the Portland Press Herald has reported on what is happening at USM during this crisis, I’ve seen no analysis of why it is happening. It seems that more is needed than simply repeating the words of David Flanagan, the highly paid administrators or the Board of Trustees.

What is happening is that public higher education is being privatized, with less government aid and involvement and more private-sector input and control. This thinking is in line with that of the Koch brothers, tea party activists and, of course, Gov. Paul LePage.

I wish that the well-intentioned protesters would spend their energies to enlist the Maine Legislature for monetary support. It may not work, but they’d have a better chance of success than picketing the people who already have an agenda and are moving inexorably ahead with it.

Barbara Doughty

Portland