I read with deep sadness the coverage by the Franklin Journal’s Kay Neufeld of the hollowing out of the humanities at the University of Maine at Farmington (May 22). Of course, the astonishing incompetency of the upper leadership, as well as its cruelty, is nothing new to students, faculty and staff at the University of Southern Maine.

It’s easy to save money at a university. Just shift students online, or, in the present language of the system, “to online synchronous and asynchronous courses.” Doesn’t that sound exciting! Then sell off the buildings to a retirement community, hire adjuncts and, if students object, mute them.

Really, it’s easy. What’s hard is living up to our obligation as citizens to ensure that all Maine people have the opportunity to fulfill their potential by exploring diverse realms of knowledge – the sciences, to be sure – but also fields of inquiry that during the Enlightenment, made science possible: the critical thinking rooted in philosophy, history, literature and the classics.

Economic inequality is not the only division that has emerged in this century. As public universities narrow their focus to workplace credentialism, private institutions embrace the link between the humanities and science, offering students the inner resources not just to navigate the future, but also to envision a better one.

Chancellor Dannel Malloy needs to know that the University of Maine System is not up for sale. It is our gem, not his, and we all need to reclaim it for our students, our families and our future.

Ardis Cameron
professor emeritus, American and New England studies, University of Southern Maine
South Portland

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