I am writing in shock and dismay after reading about the termination of a sizable portion of the University of Maine at Farmington humanities staff.

I chair an education foundation in the town of Brooksville. A significant number of students to whom we grant scholarships attend the University of Maine System. I am also a trustee of George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, which, this year, is sending several graduates to UMF. With this change in faculty, those students will, I believe, have selected UMF under the false pretense that it is one of the nation’s premier small liberal arts colleges.

The recently announced force reductions are not merely the termination of individual faculty but also the wholesale elimination of entire disciplines within humanistic education, including foreign languages and philosophy. Considering UMF’s former ranking among top U.S. small liberal arts schools, these sudden, unjustified changes in the school’s nature amount to a wasting of state assets and are cause for termination of Chancellor Dannel Malloy’s contract, which is up for renewal.

The UMaine System trustees should reverse the chancellor’s reduction in force at UMF. If they fail to do so, the Legislature should intervene. Maine is home to several nationally recognized private liberal arts colleges, including Bowdoin, Bates and Colby. UMF provided a similar level of humanities education to those who could not afford such expensive private schools. That opportunity has now been eliminated without any public debate, presumably in the name of cost cutting, which will prove to be pennywise but pound foolish.

Michael McMillen

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