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Students for #USMFuture and Representative Ben Chipman Draft Bill to Present to Legislative Council

Portland, ME: Students for #USMfuture met with Representative Chipman today in order to draft a bill to be presented to the Legislative Council at the State House in Augusta for a hearing this Thursday. Students plan to hold a press conference at 12:30pm on Wednesday, March 26th in the Welcome Center of the State House in order to garner support for the bill, tentatively entitled “Resolve an act to analyze the distribution of funding within the UMaine system.” This bill speaks to the need for financial transparency and sustainability within the University of Maine system. This bill will have to be considered as an emergency measure.

The students and Representative Ben Chipman believe these steps are necessary to overcome some of the fiscally motivated justifications for departmental cuts and faculty retrenchments at USM. "There is a crisis right now in the University of Maine system. This bill will provide a thorough examination of the financial structure of the system and develop solutions to keep our universities sustainable," said Rep. Ben Chipman (I-Portland), sponsor of the bill.

"While this work is being done the bill will also provide a temporary reprieve from cuts to departments and positions," said Chipman.

More details will be given about the specific nature of the bill during Wednesday’s press release, which will be attended by students of USM from various departments and programs, and, notably, student body Vice President Marpheen Chann. Also in attendance will be core #USMfuture members Caroline O’Connor and Jules Purnell, who each worked with Chipman for the bill’s creation.

“I believe it will necessary to not only work on changes from within the USM campus, but to look to the state to ensure the health and vitality of our school and the entire UMaine system. We need to support faculty, and in order to do that, we need to have an honest picture of what we’re doing with the resources we’re given,” said Purnell.

“This bill seeks to make clearer the ties between the financial state of the University of Maine system and the department eliminations and faculty retrenchments at USM specifically. By looking at where our University stands within the University of Maine system, we can better understand how the administration’s plans for the future serve current and future students in Southern Maine,” said O’Connor.

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