At a breakfast hosted by the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, the vision for the University of Maine system’s future focused on teamwork.
“We need to work in very close concert with our communities and our businesses throughout the state if we’re going to be ultimately successful,” said system chancellor James Page.
Incoming UMaine in Orono president Susan Hunter said officials at the various campuses need to put aside their differences and work towards shared goals.
“We have to get over the friction so we can work more closely together, because we’re going to have to form some creative partnerships in order to deal with moving forward and really make the best use of all the talent we have,” said Hunter.
Page concedes that while current the tuition freeze will not last forever, the UMaine system is committed to keeping college affordable.
“When tuition increases do come back on the table, that they be reasonable, and that we not try to balance our budgets on the backs of Maine taxpayers and Maine families,” said Page.
Instead the system is cutting about a hundred and fifty positions to help shrink its deficit…
“Every position that is lost and closed down is an opportunity lost not just of course for the worker and the family, but for the system, for the state, it’s a resource lost,” said Page.
But given that a multi-million dollar structural gap remains, future reductions are on the table.
“So are we through? Was this year the final step in any cuts? That’s unrealistic,” said Page.
“If we don’t deal with it and solve this problem, it will–it’s just sinking us. So it’s very real,” Hunter.