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USM Faculty voting on tentative contract: AFUM has until October 1 to vote or it’s back to negotiations
By Cody Marcroft
A tentative faculty contract agreed to between negotiators for the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine (AFUM) and University of Maine System (UMS) is currently being voted on by professors for approval.
The contract offered addresses salaries, healthcare, tuition waivers, commuting between campuses among other matters. According to James McClymer, chair of the AFUM negotiating team and Associate Professor of physics at Orono, one of the biggest changes was establishing a process to deal with the Cadillac Tax provision of the Affordable Care Act, if it were to impact the UMS in the future.
“In short, [the provision] is an attempt to rein in costs and to raise revenue by taxing plans that cost above a certain amount,” McClymer explained in an email. “The tax is large — 40 percent of the difference between actual cost and the tax level. The cost would be a burden on our members and on the UMS.”
The objective will be for both sides to negotiate plan design changes that will keep healthcare costs for faculty below the Cadillac Tax threshold. If an agreement can’t be reached, then an independent arbitrator will intervene, listening to both parties’ positions before determining how to stay below the tax level.
Other changes include healthcare for retirees being explicitly mentioned in the contract, waiving the unified fee for faculty members who decide to enroll in courses, and ensuring that professors who travel between more than one campus to teach courses will not have to make repeated trips during a day.
A Powerpoint created by the AFUM alleged that UMS negotiators wanted to spread the academic workload and require faculty members to be available year-round to provide student support with no additional compensation. Currently, professors have three months off, typically summer months.
The Powerpoint was shared via email with faculty earlier this month. It intended to explain not only the conditions in the proposed contract finalized in August, but also unsuccessful proposals put forth by both sides. Susan Feiner, President of the USM chapter of AFUM, said the changes proposed by the UMS were unacceptable.
“AFUM takes very seriously our commitment to teacher-scholars,” said Susan Feiner, “and scholarship requires large blocks of uninterrupted time. Everyone I know is using those months [away from teaching] for research.”
The contract is the first since numerous USM faculty and staff members were laid off to. The backlash the cuts received in the community made national headlines and warranted the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to censure USM’s administration.
Mark Schmelz, Director of Labor Relations and member of the UMS negotiating team, did not respond to the allegations in the AFUM Powerpoint. He explained that negotiations are conducted in an executive session, not publicly.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable, with the ground rules we entered into with the union, diving into any proposals we may have made or discussions we may have had,” said Schmelz.
The AFUM negotiating team, comprised of professors from various UMS campuses, and UMS’s board of trustees were responsible for negotiating the proposed contract. Now, AFUM’s roughly 900 members have until October 1st to submit their vote to either ratify the contract or send the two sides back to the negotiating table.
If approved, the contract will stand until the final day of June 2017.
In modernized classrooms on a campus that seems so separate from the rest, USM’s Lewiston-Auburn college has finally completed their laboratory and practicum/simulation spaces. These classrooms, which resemble medical rooms of real hospitals, will allow students to gain real-world experience while they work toward earning their degree.
Nursing and Occupational Therapy majors will be the students most likely to use these labs to their fullest potential for learning both inside and outside the classroom. The hope for these new innovations is to provide a supportive learning center as students progress in their learning stages.
In one classroom, hospital beds with all the necessary medical tools line the walls. Some of these beds even have life-like dummies that students can do things such as provide CPR, learn anatomy, check heart rate and much more.
As part of a 15.5 million statewide bond, the ultimate goal of this project is to improve lab and classroom experiences for students, faculty and staff. After it was approved by Maine voters in November 2013, $600,000 total was spent on the Lewiston-Auburn campus alone.
Tammy Bickmore, Director of MOT and Clinical Instructor at the L/A Campus said that these new renovations allow for students to work together in ways they never could before.
In one classroom, the bathroom wall was taken down and wheelchairs were added in. This area allows students to practice helping their patients in day to day routines such as brushing their teeth, going to the bathroom, etc.
“When we first asked them to take down the wall, they thought we were crazy,” said Bickmore. “But this area has been exceptionally helpful in getting students to understand what it’s like to have to help someone with things they usually take for granted.”
Bickmore also explained that in addition to the simulated medical practices that students can perform on the dummies, one of the other newer rooms has diagrams, charts and models of the human body for students to use as an educational resource.
“We really needed these updated labs in order to provide our students with the necessary tools when they go out in their career field,” said Blake Whitaker, an associate professor of Natural and Applied Sciences. “Every student I’ve talked to is very excited to have the opportunity to use the new labs, so we’re glad to be a University that can provide that for them.”
By Krysteana Scribner & Zachary Searles
Students looking for a place to do homework and work on computers will no longer be able to utilize the space in the Luther Bonney computer lab, starting at the beginning of October.
“We did a whole press conference and sent out an email about the changes that were going to take place, and we announced that we were consolidating student services, financial aid, admissions, student success, etc,” said Chris Quint, Executive Director of Student Affairs.
The computer lab in Luther Bonney is being split up in order to make space to move offices, such as financial aid and student accounts, into a more central location for students to make them more accessible.
“Right now, services like financial aid, student accounts and advising they are all over campus in portland — we need to figure out how to consolidate one space,” said Quint. “We hear complaints that students don’t know where things are. So next year, when students come on campus, they will know that everything is located in one central space and it will make things easier for them.”
According to Quint, when these changes were first in discussion, the computer lab wasn’t even mentioned. The changes are being funded through money saved from the cost of heating in the recently evacuated white house that surround the portland campus.
“We didn’t go into this project with intentions of changing the computer lab – it just so happens there is a computer lab in there,” said Quint. “the reason is because we have to move it temporarily, at that point we decided to separate the computer lab into two locations.”
The beginning stages of construction started last week, with more to come at the beginning of October, as computers are starting to be moved out of the lab and into the third floor of the Glickman Library, where they will stay until construction is complete.
According to Quint, the point of these changes is to create a “one stop shopping center” for students for them to get all the questions they have answered in one convenient location.
Junior biology major Casey Fillmore explained that a lot of the changes going on throughout campus seem extremely unnecessary. He believes that doing renovation in a computer lab that is already being used by many students is an inconvenient choice.
“We’re sacrificing money on this project, but for what? Offices we already have in Payson Smith?” said Fillmore. “This is from the same administration that talks about our dire budget crisis’ and that we need to fix the problem. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
Before renovations to the computer lab, both the student account offices and financial aid officers were in Payson Smith. The consolidation of these offices already exists, just in a different building.
Quint emphasized the importance of a one stop shopping center. A place where all the resources that a student would need are all conveniently place in one area.
“That’s a nice sentiment, but Payson Smith is right there – everything is in Payson smith that a student would need,” said Fillmore. “We’re a computer lab that is fully functioning, why change that?”
An anonymous faculty member at USM, who is fed up with USM’s ability to make good choices for a better campus, said It seems like they’re doing whatever they want and they could care less about faculty staff and students.
Even though the same number of computers will be available across campus and in a variety of locations, Fillmore explained that Glickman can not accommodate the amount of computers that Luther Bonney has.
Carol Sobczak, Assistant Director for Computer Services, explained that the same amount of IT help will be available to students, just the locations are changing.
“Some people are going to Gorham campus, some to the basement of Science Building and some of us will be placed on the 5th floor of Glickman,” said Sobczak. “As far as lab space, we have computers set up outside of Luther Bonney and we will have someone sitting there to help students if needed.”
Some staff members are more concerned with the time frame in which they have to completely move out before construction begins.
“When am I supposed to stop doing my job to pack my office? How do I continue doing my job? It’s getting down to the wire,” said an anonymous staff member in Luther Bonney. “The timing of this all is extremely inconvenient. We have two weeks to move everything around, and it’s stressing all of us out.”
While some believe that these changes are better for the university as a whole and these changes are in the best interest for the students, some do not agree.
“What makes me the angriest is that it’s in the shadow of a bunch of Professors being fired,” said Fillmore. “Quality teachers are more important than a ‘one-stop shopping center’. Whoever is calling the shots is making bad decisions.”
Other students believe that all these renovations will just simply be an inconvenience.
“I don’t like this at all because all of my business classes are in here in Luther Bonney,” said Laine Geistwalker, a senior business major. “It seems that the relocation of all these student services is, in turn, scattering the library services across this campus. This is all just so inconvenient.”
At all times of the day, you can always find students in the computer lab doing their assignments. Some may feel that students should have been asked before any changes were made.
“If they had talked to students first they’d find that this place is where most students go to study. It’s always full, even until 8:00 at night,” said Geistwalker. “They don’t need to be spending more money on relocating offices, especially when it takes away student accessibility during the semester.”
Chris Quint has made it clear that these renovations have nothing to do layoffs, faculty will just be relocated for a period of time and no one is losing their job, but that still doesn’t mean that everyone is happy with these changes.
“Every teacher is angry, every faculty member is angry – so far, no one has had anything positive to say about the changes taking place,” explained Fillmore. “This may be because I’m a student and they’re not afraid to talk to me.”
Quint said that his office will continue to send out emails to keep students up to date on the changes around campus, along with where faculty were relocated. President Cummings will also begin a weekly memo that sends to all students to fill them in on some campus updates.
By Thomas Fitzgerald/News Intern
The House of Representatives voted last week to take away all funding on a federal level from Planned Parenthood, while an investigation is pending that accuses them of selling aborted babies and their parts.
The US representatives approved the bill, as the defunding is imminent until the answers of this investigation come to a conclusion. If the investigation finds Planned Parenthood to be guilty, the funding ban will last a year.
Although these accusations are quite serious, there are a lot of US citizens that are being immediately impacted by this decision as the Independent Congressional Office released an analysis that estimated over 630,000 women would lose access to preventative health care through federal family planning money.
This is a number that has such a large volume that other healthcare providers may not be capable of covering leaving thousands of people uncertain when they will have access again.
Nicole Clegg, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, was confident that this issue was not going to affect women in need for very long and cited other forms of funding to still be an asset to their continuation.
“The defunding will pass at the house level, but it is not likely to appear in the senate. It will need to pass in both bodies in order for us to be affected by this in the long term,” said Clegg.
Title ten is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services, and it is designed to make health care for low income homes a priority. Regardless of what house voters believe in this situation, it is not an act that the public is going to stand for.
“It is our job at Planned Parenthood to notify our supporters about what is happening,” said Clegg. “Elected leaders need to understand that they are not voting in support of what the citizens want.”
One tactic that was used as a deterrent for people in support of Planned Parenthood was put on display at the Republican debate, when candidate Carly Florina described a video viewed from planned parenthood as seeing “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
However, there is no evidence of this footage ever existing.
Mallory Pelton, Senior communication major at USM, has done some research regarding this topic, and does not seem to believe what news media may be trying to tell her.
“I think there is controversy over what planned parenthood is doing with babies body parts. However, I think that some videos that are being posted are highly edited and are exaggerating the truth,” said Pelton.
Pelton does not believe that Planned Parenthood should have finding taken away since only 3% of their business is abortions and the other 97% is for birth control, STD tests, and check ups.
“If you take away funding it will only backfire and women won’t have any safe option which will create much bigger issues,” said Pelton.
Although the bill was passed by the US representatives, it has been clearly stated by President Barack Obama that any bill that reaches his approval regarding this defunding will be vetoed.
By Sam Haiden
The time is coming, once again to decide who will lead this country. As we are approaching the primary elections in November, campus is all aflutter with the most recent political scandals involving our would-be future presidents. Now is the time that USM students will have to begin to make important decisions about how to vote.
According to FOX, CNN and the Washington Post, Donald Trump is leading in the polls for the Republican Primary Election.
Next in the polls is Dr. Ben Carson, a celebrated former head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Having stated that Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to America “since slavery,” he has gained a gratuitous amount of support from grassroots conservatives.
On campus, a quick survey puts Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, at the top of the list of republican nominees; however political analysts and the polls say otherwise.
Pat Mahoney, a junior marketing major at USM described him as “the only adult at the table” amongst the GOP candidates, lauding his tax policy and making the statement that if Paul were president, “the constitution would mean something again.”
Jack Forbush, a biology major, also supports Paul’s tax policies, adding an appreciation for the fact that Rand, “follows in the footsteps of his father.” When asked to scout a likely Democratic candidate, both students chose Bernie Sanders.
Although Sanders is second in the DNC polls to Hillary Clinton, he seems to have the favor of the voters: at least here on the USM campus. His platform is getting big money out of politics, and he seems to be pretty strict about who he accepts money from, putting Clinton’s association with super PACs in the spotlight.
Michael Havlin, a UMass Amherst grad student and USM alumni who has been involved in many activist, political and policy issues in Maine, says he is “undoubtedly and proudly” voting for Sanders.
Havlin succinctly summarizes Bernie’s political career as “one of fighting against established monied interest and for the people, and winning.”
Trailing closely behind Sanders in the polls is Vice President Joe Biden; however Biden has not yet announced that he is running for nomination at all, as he deals with the recent death of his son, Beau.
As political platforms vary drastically, so do the backgrounds of each candidate and their cultures and heritages. Two months from now, the parties will select their gladiators, to pit against each other in the partisan coliseum in November of 2016. USM students will continue to represent their ideals and political beliefs to the nation by way of voting.
The University of Southern Maine is in the early planning stages for an independent high school in order to support the decrease in student enrollment over the past three years. If this was to happen, the University would become an attractive aspect to international students, as it would be one of only a selection of colleges in this country that also provide high school education.
USM’s new President, Glenn Cummings, explained that the creation of a high school could become a reality in as little as two years. With enrollment decreasing to around 9,000 students total on all three campus locations, the addition of this high school would likely bring in the revenue needed to sustain student enrollment.
Although the placement of this high school is still uncertain, officials are looking into the possibility of utilizing the vacant Dickey and Wood Halls, two dorm buildings that once housed 368 students that is in dire need of renovations. Cummings explained that the cost of fixing these dorms could potentially cost $2 million, so the situation on its location is still uncertain.
The goal of this high school would aim to attract students interested in finishing up their education, particularly for students who come from overseas. Cummings explained that with over 100 international students on campus now, the goal of creating an educational outlet would also be to retain these students to attend at the university level.
Cummings wants to develop an easier transition for students into college, and hopes that a USM high school can provide that. Currently, Gorham High School students have the opportunity to participate and earn credits in some college level courses, but the goal is to expand this collaboration with surrounding school districts such as Westbrook, Windham and Bonny Eagle.
“We will be known not as a second choice, but we will be known where academic excellence combines with real world experience,” said Cummings.
By Zachary Searles / News Editor
Last Thursday, the University of Maine System released an energy and sustainability report that stated across the system, Maine campuses have reduced their carbon emissions by 26 percent since 2006.
In 2006, the UMaine system as a whole was releasing 97,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. In 2010, a committee was formed with a representative from each campus, whose goal was to try and bring this number down.
By 2014, emissions were lowered 26 percent to 72,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide being released.
For the past two years USM has been talking about transitioning to another source of fuel other than oil. The conversion required a loan from the University of Maine System’s office for $3 million and that covered the cost of the removal and replacement of the heating system that has been used since the sixties.
“It does a lot of good things for us. It helps us, obviously, with our price point, it’s much cheaper than oil,” said President of the university, Glenn Cummings.
This conversion will save USM 11% on what they spend for heating costs, those savings can then be put towards scholarships, new investments, or even hiring new faculty.
“We have a chance to set a good example for our students, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and we’re using more sustainable, long term forms of energy,” said President Cummings.
Cummings did mention that this is only the beginning and university is looking into more ways than just this to be more sustainable and efficient when it comes to heating and fuel use.
“We’re looking at a master plan for the campus that would include much larger commitments to sustainability,” said President Cummings.
The oil burner was highly inefficient, by just installing these new natural gas boilers it will increase efficiency by 15 percent, meaning that per any one unit of energy, we can now get 15 percent more energy out of that unit.
The energy and sustainability report also stated that the UMaine system is going to decrease its dependency on oil by around 49 percent, going from over a million gallons of oil each year, to around 536,000.
“Oil is not sustainable in the long run, we know it’s a resource that has limits, it also has an enormous implication for our carbon production which threatens our long term survivability,” said President Cummings.
According to Cummings, this transition to more sustainable energy sources is a “triple win” for the university. “It saves money, it sets a good example and it allows us to attract more students.”
President Cummings mentioned a poll that stated 72 percent of students stated that a university’s commitment to the environment does play a role when they decide which college to attend.
“To the extent that we’re doing this kind of work means that the community, the nation, and the state begins to look at us as somebody who really backs up our commitment to the environment and to saving money,” said President Cummings.
By Cody Marcroft, Free Press Staff
This fall, the University of Maine System is offering, for the first time, a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.
The establishment of the major was two years in the making, according to Raymond Albert, professor of Computer Science at the University of Maine Fort Kent and project leader of the degree initiative. Multiple UMS campuses combined resources to ensure it could provide an adequate Cybersecurity education.
A pivotal role in getting the degree approved by the UMS involved establishing credibility with the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before becoming approved by the academic governance body at each participating UMS campus, and lastly the board of trustees.
Meeting NSA/DHS standards was, “more challenging to a certain degree,” than any other step in the process, said Albert. It entailed identifying courses that aligned with the NSA/DHS requirements for learning outcomes, lab facilities and other resources, as well as collaborations with outside agencies and universities.
The UMS was certified by the NSA/DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity in the fall of 2014. The degree was subsequently approved by UMS officials for the fall 2015 semester.
The curriculum includes courses in IT, networking, computer programming, as well as philosophy and ethics.
“If you think about Cybersecurity, you see everyone’s network traffic. What are the ethics around that?” posed Edward Sihler, assistant director of the Maine Cyber Security Cluster (MCSC).
Online courses will be utilized to bring students together from participating UMS campuses. For example, a class of seven students at UMA might meet in-class with a professor, while the professor simultaneously teaches the course online to a few students at USM and UMFK. That way, classes will be appropriately filled and students on campuses with lower enrollment won’t be delayed in their degree progress while waiting for a particular course to become available locally.
Currently, the major is offered at UMA, UMFK and USM. Eventually, Albert hopes to expand the major to other UMS campuses.
“There will be others we’re expecting down the road. Perhaps the University of Maine [Orono] and Farmington,” said Albert.
Maine Cyber Security Cluster
Lab experience is necessary for any field of science. Cybersecurity, a subset of Computer Science, is no exception. The three-year-old MCSC, which has a lab on the USM campus, has been and will continue to be an important asset to the degree program.
“We are, if you will, a center of research; a point of external activity,” said Sihler. “We act in support of the [Bachelor of Science] in Cyber Security.”
Last fall, the MCSC used grants from the National Science Foundation and Maine Technology Institute to build a new research lab. The following spring, groups of students from USM, UMFK and York Community College completed simulated exercises together, where they tackled various Cybersecurity-related problems. Two more exercises will take place this semester.
“It provides an excellent opportunity to engage our students,” said Albert. “They can work with things they normally wouldn’t have access to in a public computer lab.”
Are you safe online?
Recent breaches of privacy have raised concern among the public about the threat of cyber attacks. In December 2013, 110 million customers of Target had their information compromised. In July, Ashley Madison, an online dating service geared toward married people seeking affairs, was hacked. In August, the hackers released users’ information to the public.
How safe do people feel when browsing the Internet? Is there anything that individuals can do to avoid being hacked?
“If you order things online, like textbooks, I think it’s important to make sure the site is secured,” said Tristen Jordan, a general management student at USM. “They’ll have those symbols, which show that your information is encrypted in different ways. If I buy things online I try to make sure to use those websites.”
Other students are more trusting, and less mindful about the prospect of an attack.
“I know there’s always a possibility of my information being taken, but I like to trust the people [running the website] are taking the precautions to protect my information,” said Courtney Bowers, a sophomore biology student.
Some are not concerned at all.
“I understand identity theft, but what good are hackers going to do with my information? There’s no secret that I’m safeguarding,” said Daniel Morrissette, a junior nursing major.
By Erica Jones / Free Press Staff
A publicly-accessible research forest is being developed on the Gorham campus of USM. Hemlock Forest, which already provides the university and the Gorham community with an area for hands-on learning and beautiful views, will be established as a research forest based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Smart Forest initiative in order to provide live access to environmental sensor data online for climate change research, according to USM’s Office of Public Affairs.
USM’s Smart Forest Initiative is led by Dr. Joseph Staples, a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Also working on the Smart Forest project is USM graduate student Chelsea Malacara, who is studying Policy, Planning, and Management.
“I see the forest as this hidden gem that the school has, and the more we do with it and the more students and faculty from all departments get involved, the more of a unique place it will become,” said Malacara.
As stated in the press release about the project written by Malacara, over the next three years USM’s Smart Forest project will receive $39,000 to deploy sensors throughout the forest. The sensors that are currently in place measure the weather conditions of the forest, including wind speed, rainfall, and air temperature, as well as soil temperature.
The data obtained from the sensors will be published online alongside sensor data from other forests in the USDA’s Smart Forest Initiative program.
“We also hope to add sensors and other technology that could monitor changes in canopy cover [or] gasses in the air,” said Malacara of future plans for the sensors.
One project currently underway is monitoring forest regeneration. “We are taking tree core samples, measuring diameter at breast height (DBH), analyzing the forest canopy,” explains Malacara, “and over the year, adding soil testing and analyzing debris and leaf litter.” There have already been four monitored plots set up.
Hemlock Forest was always an important part of the environment in Gorham, and with the Smart Forest Initiative, it will continue to remain an educational resource and community retreat.
Next year, project members hope to install trail signs in the forest and establish the trails on MaineTrailFinder.com. Currently, clean-up events are held intermittently and volunteers are encouraged to join the effort to rejuvenate the forest.
The hope for USM’s Smart Forest is that not only will it provide important environmental data to monitor climate change, but it will provide educational opportunities for students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (S.T.E.A.M.) fields, according to USM’s Office of Public Affairs.
“The forest has the ability to enhance student research, add to the Gorham community, and national climate change research,” said Malacara. “The USM forest can be a pixel in the grand picture.”
By Brian Gordon / Free Press Staff
Walking through town you’re liable to spot plaques on old buildings. Why’s that there? Who’s Lily Stephens? Now there’s an app for that. It’s called the Portland Women’s History Trail and it was created here at USM.
History professor, Eileen Eagan, and her students took what once was a 20 year old booklet of historic sites involving women across Portland and made it into a foot-friendly walkabout town that you can follow along with your smart phone. She thought it was time for our city to have it’s own history trail. USM received a grant from Maine Economic Improvement Fund.
“Boston, St. Louis, Philadelphia all have history walking trails, it’s a good way to bring history alive,” Eagan said. “The idea is to get people out looking at sights and to feel what it felt like to be the people who were living there.”
There’s Portland history walking trails but none of them focus mainly on women.
“Half the people in the city have been women and their history is important,” said Eagan.
The professor would love to see more statues of working people, men and women on the many fishing piers or a worker in a cannery or at the old chewing gum factory, which is now Hub Furniture on Fore St.
Working class women’s history is not always talked about, Eagan says, but as some of the sights show, women endured terrible conditions and did jobs just as hard as men.
The Portland Star Match Company on West Commercial St. was home to many Irish-American women workers who contracted phosphorus poisoning, which was a disease that ate away part of their jaw. They worked in these terrible conditions from 1870 to 1908 earning wages that averaged $5 a week.
Eagan is quick to point out the tour does include some notable men as well, such as Thomas Brackett Reed, whose visage looks out on the Western Promenade. Reed was an advocate for women’s suffrage and also an anti-imperialist, Eagan adds.
Hans Neilson, a junior art major, helped on the project by going out and photographing the sites, so viewers online would get a feel for it.
“Women in Portland have occupied roles from Mayor of the city to the fishing industry on Commercial St.,” Neilson said. “I think the app shows that women haven’t always occupied the stereotypical roles that we often think of.”
Neilson’s favorite site on the walking trail is the Abyssinian Meeting House on Newbury St.
“I think it stood out to me because of its role in the underground railroad and also that it managed to not get burned down during the fire of 1866,” he said.
Another student who helped work on the app was senior history major, Tracey Berube. She was interested in the Eastern Cemetery because she has relatives buried there from colonial times. Berube said the app is important because it is “a readily accessible way to convey the history of women in Portland to visitors and to give these women a voice that they did not have before.”
The collaborative effort by staff and students left a mark on Professor Egan.
“I was really impressed by the work the students did and the faculty working together was really fun and productive,” Eagan said. “It also couldn’t have been done without the help of Stephen Hauser,” who was the executive director of computer services on campus. Hauser wrote the code to make the app actually work while Eagan and her students handled the history and artistic aspect of the app.
The app is free to download or if you don’t have a smart phone you can go to http://pmwht.org on your computer to check out the trail.
By Thomas Fitzgerald, News Intern
The Brooks Student Center on the Gorham campus was unexpectedly evacuated last Saturday night, causing unrest among students and many still unanswered questions.
Carly Coombs, a sophomore communications major, was working in the building at the time. She recounts the moments before the evacuation happened, saying that she sat in Lower Brooks when students were suddenly told to evacuate the building around 10:30 p.m.
Little did she know that pepper spray had been discharged on the lower level of Brooks, and five students were required to seek further medical attention from Gorham fire and rescue.
“I don’t know if they’re taking any criminal action and I’m still not really sure what even happened,” said Coombs. “I just know that it was an incident involving pepper spray and some students had a very bad reaction to it.”
Students that have asthma that were in the building at the time of the incident were the most affected by it. The negative reaction is common among people with asthma, as the active chemical in pepper spray can contribute to coughing and shortness of breath.
Although many students are still trying to put the pieces together, Joy Pufhal, Dean of Students and executive director of student life, has been working hard to come up with solutions to the issue.
“Students and staff started to present a cough and itchy and burning eyes. The cause was later determined to be a small amount of pepper spray that was discharged at a table near the Husky Hideaway,” stated Pufhal, “USM Police Safety does know the names of the students who were involved. At this time Public Safety is still gathering information and a decision has not yet been made as to criminal charges.”
The University of Maine System has reduced carbon emissions across its seven campuses and other statewide facilities by 26 percent since 2006, according to a report released Thursday.
During the 2016 heating season, the system expects to cut its consumption of heating oil by more than 500,000 gallons, a 49 percent reduction from last winter.
That was accomplished largely through two major conversions — one that will bring compressed natural gas to the University of Maine at Machias and replace 13 of its aging boilers, and another that will heat the University of Maine at Farmington with woodchips.
“We are working hard to be responsible stewards of the tax and tuition dollars entrusted to the university system and of the environment,” said Norman Fournier, chairman of the finance and facilities committee. “Our targeted investments and campus-led conservation initiatives are reducing our carbon emissions and our overall energy consumption.”
At the University of Southern Maine, the system is spending $3 million to replace the Portland campus’ 50-year-old heating plant equipment with natural gas-fired boilers.
USM students to present at TESOL conference
According to the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program, two students and five recent graduates have been invited to share their work at the Northern New England TESOL annual conference.
This conference will be held on Nov. 7, 2015 at the University of New Hampshire campus in Durham.
Presenters include Patty Jokie, Amy Kissel, Rebecca Graham, Heidi Haufe and Beth Skotarczak, along with their professor.
Seven new members of Husky Hall of Fame
The athletics department will add seven new members to the Husky Hall of Fame when it hosts the 30th annual Husky Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony on Sat. September 26 at the Brooks Student Center on the Gorham campus.
To be enshrined as part of the Class of 2015 are former soccer standout and All-WMAC selection, Carl Holmquist, Class of 1985; field hockey all-region selection, Erika Allen Gould, Class of 1998; a pitcher on the 1997 NCAA Division III National Championship baseball team Denny Webber, Class of 2000; a former track and field All-American, Michael Bunker, Class of 2006; the men’s ice hockey program’s all-time leader in points and goals scored, Mark Carragher, Class of 2007; the starting point guard for the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Division III women’s basketball Final Four teams, Katie Sibley, Class of 2007; and long-time women’s basketball coach and former Associate Director of Athletics, Gary Fifield.
The seven new inductees will bring the total number of former Southern Maine standouts in the Husky Hall of Fame to 197.
Hillary Clinton visits King Middle School
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told an adoring crowd in Portland on Friday that the United States will return to what she called the failed Republican policies of trickle-down economics unless voters keep a Democrat in the White House in 2016.
“I want the American people to understand what the choice is,” said Clinton. “[Republicans] want to return to the failed policies of trickle-down economics. We can’t let the hard work that has been done by President [Barack] Obama to be ripped away.”
Clinton went to great lengths to associate herself with Obama. She started her speech by describing the nation’s struggling economy that greeted Obama when he took office in 2009, according to Bangor Daily News reporters Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd.
“I don’t think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for keeping us from falling even further,” said Clinton. “The recovery is proceeding, but we haven’t finished what we need to do.”
Clinton cycled through a bevy of familiar Democratic principles, such as increasing funding for schools, creating partnerships between students and businesses, raising taxes and eliminating tax loopholes that benefit the rich, along with some ambitious energy goals that mirror rhetoric from Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Clinton also focused on a couple of issues that many don’t think find their ways into political campaigns enough: increasing treatment for mentally ill and drug addicted people.
Clinton is the fourth presidential candidate who has visited Maine in recent weeks, though her visit last year in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud came well after she was presumed to be vying for the White House.
By Samuel Haiden / Contributor
An anatomical exhibit described as a mix of “art, science, and circus freak show” will inspire and educate audiences here in Portland starting Friday, September fourth.
The exhibit features real live human corpses, which have been voluntarily donated to the cause by the deceased- in most cases. These corpses are preserved by a process called plastination, developed by the anatomical artisan himself, Dr. Gunther von Hagens, to display the complexity of the human body, frozen in perfect composure to allow for a deep and pensive look into the clockwork of our very own bodies.
The process imbues organic tissue with silicone, leaving the musculature with a waxy and plastic appearance; but the lack of robustness does no injustice to the incredible complexity of the human anatomy.
In fact, the artificiality of the experience makes it much more approachable. Human legs are referred to as “lower extremity with knee-joint prosthesis.” The blood and gore expected with the display of disembodied human flesh is absent, bearing no resemblance to the zombie-like appearance of traditionally preserved cadavers.
In fact, the plastinated cadavers have become so popular that multiple European universities have purchased them for the study of human anatomy.
Hagens presents his exhibit as a “living anatomy,” in contrast with the traditionally preserved “anatomy of the dead,” and his fascination with the study of living anatomy has been compared to the zealous study of physicians in the Renaissance period.
The nature of Hagens’ pursuits, however, carry with them a series of criticisms. The primary material in the process of making plastinated cadavers, of course, is dead people. The obvious criticism is that the exhibit is discomforting and nauseating: many complaints were made about the exhibit during the first several years of its debut, and it was protested in both Europe and Asia.
These claims are quickly quelled by emphasising the overwhelming educational benefit that the experience provides especially for University students studying medicine.
Some claims, however, are not so easily overruled. Within the first two years of the exhibit’s debut in 2004, many questions were raised about the source of the bodies. These questions are detailed in a Guardian article from the same year indicating that at least two of the 647 corpses stored in his Chinese plastination facility were executed by a shot to the back of the head: implying that the corpses belonged to executed Chinese prisoners. Von Hagens admitted to these claims and returned the bodies to be buried.
Two years later and to the contrary, he states in an NPR article, “What I certainly never use for public exhibitions are unclaimed bodies, prisoners, bodies from mental institutions or executed prisoners.”
The exhibit has become a rampant success: and with good reason. Due to the highly academic nature of the plastinated corpses, the exhibit is very educational. It ran in Boston in 2014 and many members of the USM learning community made the pilgrimage to attend.
David Champlin, an Associate Professor of Biology at USM, found the exhibit to be an excellent learning tool. He was surprised to find that even within a group of science students, some were intrigued and some were repulsed.
“There are a small set of people who find the body fascinating whether it is healthy or ill or large or small,” he said. “Lots of them are heading into careers in health care and will help take care of us when we get sick, injured, or old.”
Ben Stone, a Pre-Med student here at USM agrees, “I saw the exhibit in Boston and really enjoyed it,” said Ben Stone, a junior pre-med major. “I believe there was a piece portraying the development of a fetus, which was really cool.”
When asked about his opinions on the discomfort exhibited by some attendees, he seemed perplexed by the notion that anybody should be grossed out by it, adding, “it’s what’s inside of us.”
By Rahma Ali, Community Editor
Last Wednesday, the lawn between Payson Smith and Luther Bonney was filled with students eager to learn more about USM through student information tables, great food and upbeat music at the 15th annual Husky Fest.
For students, the Husky Fest is a way to meet and connect with faculty members and student groups. According to Dean of Students Joy Pufhal, the event is aimed at making connections between student resources in the surrounding community.
“We want them to connect to USM and find ways to be involved that will enhance their skill,” said Pufhal. “What’s important is the experience they gain and the networks they build.”
Over thirty clubs and organi dents, could benefit from what the Husky Fest has to offer.
“Students will benefit by getting to know all the resources available to USM students, and learn about all the opportunities USM offers,” said Loeurm-Ho, “this event was definitely aimed at making students feel welcomed and I had a fun-filled day.”
Reza Jalali, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Affairs said that this festival offers students a helping hand in the club recruitment process. He explained that most student activity groups are in need of new members all the time. The Husky Fest becomes a platform for active veteran members of groups to find new members to replace them.
“Meeting the new University President and witnessing the excitement that our need students had upon arrival to the campus really proves just how much life this University still has,” he said.
For Pufhal, the ultimate goal of the festival each year is to bring positive energy to incoming students by associating the beginning of a new academic year with the free food, friendly people and the ability to create a community feel amongst students.
By Thomas Fitzgerald
Advising is something that is crucial to the experience of every student’s education, but is every student informed about changes that have been made to the advising process?
Students who are currently enrolled are being assigned a multitude of advisors as they make progress toward graduation. It is important to be able to distinguish the differences they have in order to help you succeed.
Dr. Dan Panici, an associate professor of the communication and media department, outlined the distinct difference that advisors play within a student’s academic career.
Under his role as an Academic advisor, he focuses on both the scheduling of students and other inquiries that students may have within a semester.
“Advising is a component of teaching,” stressed Panici. “Faculty advisors need to focus on being more consistent in order to generate a more transparent advising process. Teaching, scholarships, and services are the three main components of employment for professors, and advising falls into the service component.”
Although not all staff members may specialize in advising, it is still part of their employment that should be fulfilled as passionately and thoroughly as their teaching.
To improve the quality of advising among different departments, there has been an advising committee established at USM where an appointed advisor from each department will meet in order to discuss opinions and changes that have been put in place.
“When we move student services to the first floor of Luther Bonney, it will become sort of a one stop shop for students, where they can get all the help and support they may need in one place,” Said USM President Glen Cummings, who believes providing proper advising for students it an important goal to reach.
Although faculty has been working hard to make advising something more comfortable and accessible for students, there is still a major role that students should also have before meeting an advisor.
“Come in with questions, and actively listen during meetings,” says Panici. “I have to know what students need when they schedule an appointment with me, so students should also ask themselves ‘What do I need to know?’ before coming in.”
One of the more important aspects of advisors is to keep students on track with adding classes that are relative to their degree. With what seems to be strict options for classes that complete what is needed for a particular degree, students may feel obligated to take what they can in order to obtain their degree. Panici stated that many students may not realize there are alternative options that can be taken just in case the cluster is not formidable to their academic needs.
“If a student looks through the pre-assigned option of clusters, and does not see something that is of interest, they can instead complete three courses of the two-hundred level that are not related to their field of study,” said Panici. “If that is still not satisfactory, any student in pursuit of a minor or a second major can qualify with that.”
All of these alternatives to the thematic cluster offer students a variety of choices on how to pursue the future of their academic career based on what their standing is.
“Building a personal relationship with students is very important to the process,” continued Panici “because if they meet with me and are uncertain about what they want to gain from our meeting, it can be difficult.”
Students who feel uninformed about the process of advising are highly recommended to make an appointment with their faculty advisor, and to discuss the options that are best fit for their academic career.
If students are finding that they are struggling with the advising process, and the potential changes that have been made to their program, there are many different tips offered from surveyed academic advisors that USM has made available through their website.
By Zachary Searles/News Editor
Enrollment has been down at USM over the past few years with a 13 percent drop since 2010. Last fall, there were 8,428 students that enrolled at USM, which is a 5.5 percent drop from the year before, according to the Office of Institutional Research.
This past July, it looked like USM would be following the same trend with enrollment being down around 13 percent from what was anticipated when creating the budget for the upcoming school year.
USM isn’t the only university that has been hurt by enrollment numbers. According to the Education Advisory Board, 59 percent of public universities in the nation missed their enrollment target for the 2013-2014 school year.
Christopher Quint, Executive director of Public Affairs, and President Glenn Cummings, explained that enrollment has been seeing an uptick since July. The numbers are still down, but now they are only down 6.5 percent from the original projections.
Quint did point out that those numbers are based on snapshots in time and no final numbers will be in until the middle of October, so he does expect them to change.
Since enrollment is still down though, USM is looking at a $2.5 million dollar shortfall in the budget that will have to be accounted for somehow.
Buster Neel, USM Chief Financial Officer, said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald that USM won’t have to cut anymore programs in order to fill the gap.
Instead, USM will dip into some of its savings and delay facility upgrades to make up the shortfall.
According to the Portland Press Herald, President Cummings said that his first priority is to rebuild trust with students and faculty following the cuts that had already been made.
Last year, USM launched an ad campaign to help combat these low enrollment numbers, but Quint said that they can’t know for sure if the campaign has any direct correlation between the rise in enrollment from down 13 percent to down just 6.5 percent.
But Quint believes that the campaign did achieve some other things, “What that ad campaign did that is hard to measure, but that we know, both on anecdotal and we know from metrics that we see from online marketing, is that it increased the awareness in a positive way about USM.”
The ad campaign was financed through savings in the budget that resulted from cuts in faculty and staff retrenchments last fall. These cuts are apart of the 51 faculty positions and five academic programs that have been cut in the past year.
The point of the campaign was to showcase that USM had $1 million dollars in scholarships to give out. The money was disbursed amongst transfer students, new students and students who were already at USM.
“Our first priority was to meet the needs of students who were potentially having trouble covering the cost of the university,” said Quint.
This scholarship money included half of President Flanagan’s salary that he donated, but Quint pointed out that there were many others that gave donations and some of them were around the same size as Flanagan’s.
“Donors will give a lot to scholarships because that is the most impactful for students. If we can increase our scholarship money, then we’re going to reduce the cost for students,” Quint said.
Reducing the cost for students has been on USM’s radar the past few years, becoming the only school in the country to freeze their tuition for five straight years. This is especially critical now that we live in a time where student loan debt has eclipsed $1 trillion dollars and affects 40 million people in the United States alone, according to CNN.
“No other university system has done that,” Quint said, “That’s a distinction that we have. We can go out there and say with confidence that we, and USM specifically, are one of the most affordable and accessible university in this region.”
USM has also focused on making it affordable for not just in-state students, but out-of-state students as well. According to Quint, an out-of-state student could come to USM, live on campus and see a bill that’s under $20 thousand before financial aid is even factored in.
“It’s important that we, as a public university, remain affordable and accessible to students,” said Quint.
It is still too early to tell if tuition will be frozen for a sixth straight year. Some of the factors that could force USM to raise tuition is the cost of goods and services, enrollment numbers, and staff and faculty contracts, which are still in negotiation as of now.
According to the Portland Press Herald, a survey showed that students at USM felt “lost” and President Cummings wants to add services to make it possible for students, but particularly freshman and sophomores, to feel more engaged in the USM community.
On August 31, the first day classes resumed, the dining services in Gorham served over 2,000 meals, which is the most that USM has ever done in one day. Quint believes that this shows that students are more engaged, so maybe things are looking up for USM.
Quint also anticipates that by the time the final enrollment numbers are in on October 15, capacity for the dorms should be close to 100 percent full, if not completely filled.
“We still have a lot more work to do and a long ways to go, but it’s a good indication early on that changes are happening and they’re positive for the overall university,” said Quint.
Maine universities committed to increasing local food on campus
The University of Maine System announced last Monday that it has committed to purchasing 20 percent of food served on its campuses from local producers within the next five years.
The system has released a request for proposals, seeking a company to supply dining hall and other food services at six of the system’s seven campuses.
The request for company proposals notes that the provider should be able to ensure at least 15 percent of the food be locally purchased in the first year of the contract, increasing by 1 percentage point annually to reach 20 percent by 2020.
That 20 percent equates to about $1.7 million in local food purchases, according to the system, which spends about $8.6 million per year feeding students and staff.
Food is considered local if it is harvested or produced within 175 miles of the campus at which it is served. However, a food provider that does business with any campus may sell food to any of the other seven campuses, according to the system. That definition was developed through discussions with Maine farmers and surveys of 2,500 dining hall customers, according to the system.
“Local food production is part of Maine’s legacy and could be even more important to our state’s future,” UMS board Chairman Sam Collins said to the Bangor Daily News on Monday. “The farmers, fishermen, producers and processors that bring sustainable, local food to our tables are a top priority for university research and spending.”
People gather for overdose victims as Maine death toll increases
People around the state are talking about drug abuse and the increasing number who have died from drug overdoses.
A vigil was organized last Monday, Aug, 31 in Monument Square. Organizers said that previous years had been focused on raising awareness, but that the tone had changed this time around.
“This year it’s much more of a somber mood,” said Brittney Dunham, an organizer with the volunteer-based group I AM HERE Outreach Team, which focuses on overdose prevention and community education.
By Thomas Fitzgerald, News Intern
The USM community has lost a long time hard working professor with the passing with Dr. John Broida on September 6, 2015.
As an associate professor of psychology, Broida had many achievements here at USM, most notably starting a foundation of technology in the classroom with the introduction of online quizzing in 1995. His plans for improvement to online technology was an asset to help students better prepare themselves for class, as they were required to complete multiple choice questions about upcoming lectures online before attending class.
His dedication as a professor, mentor, and family man were all brought to recognition at the celebration of his life last Saturday at the Wishcamper center where students, peers, and family members gathered to honor his life.
“Having class with Dr. Broida was always a pleasure. Being able to use the technology that he has worked hard to develop shows his true passion for us as students,” said former USM student Erica Brown at his memorial on Saturday. “Whenever I handed in an assignment I knew I would get great feedback in return, which made me a better student.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends, colleagues and students during this difficult time,” was the official statement of the USM president, Glenn Cummings, to the campus community
Although his success in education is very admirable, it was the charming nature of his personality that stood out to many. He had a unique way of humor that helped students feel more comfortable in class.
“He had an interesting way about his humor, and it was not always easy to understand at first. Once you got to know professor Broida you could not help but love his charm, and care for every student in the classroom,” stated Brown
Professor of geography, Lydia Savage, had nothing but inspirational words to say about Broida, stressing how much hard work he put into the protests of budgeting cuts at USM. The most notable of times being a silent protest, where he and others stood with signs as a plan of intimidation while University committee members .
“Members of the University committee were forced to walk through a line of signs to the point where one member looked back and said ‘Do I really have to walk through this?’ And it was so powerful to me because nobody in the protest group was even saying anything.”
Last Wednesday, a small fire broke out in Robie-Andrews Residence Hall on the Gorham Campus. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and students were evacuated immediately and allowed back in the building once the situation was assessed to be under control.
With approximately 200 students in the Residence Hall, everyone was able to get out quickly and efficiently, leading to no known injuries. The cause of the fire was determined to have started in a dorm room on the second floor of the building, when senior visual arts major Katie Hubbard’s fan caught fire and left charred black soot covering her room.
“We don’t really know what happened, but I do know I woke up to the sound of an electrical crack,” said Hubbard. “I looked around my room and nothing seemed wrong, but a second later I heard another crack and saw flames engulfing the back of my fan. It was simply a random fire that could happen to anyone.”
According to Hubbard, a firefighter said the fire was caused when something failed mechanically within the fan, but didn’t investigate further because it was melted beyond repair.
“Initially the fire seemed small enough that I could handle the situation and then tell someone,” said Hubbard. “After I picked it up and moved it away from anything flammable, I grabbed a towel and tried to smother the flames. When I realized the fire wasn’t going to go out. I ran and got an RA and tried to alert people.”
Once notified, an alarm went off in Hubbard’s unit of the building and two minutes later the entire building was echoing an alarm. Students rushed outside seeking safety, curious to know what was going on.
Matthew Macdonald, a senior art major, had woken up earlier than normal that morning. As he laid in his bed thinking he had more time to sleep, the building alarm began screeching. After the chaos of evacuating, he realized his friend, Hubbard, had been in the dorm room that caught fire.
“When we were outside, I saw her standing there with worried expression on her face. She told me what happened and how random the event was,” said Macdonald. “I was surprised that it was something that would happen to someone I know, but I’m glad to hear everyone is okay.”
By Erica Jones/Contributor
Learning in an environment outside the classroom can be a rewarding experience. Through hands-on practice and observation, many students find that their time in programs such as internships and off-site trips supply valuable knowledge that common college course formats, such as online or in a classroom, cannot offer.
Last May, eighteen students in the Tourism and Hospitality program hosted a cruise to Bermuda. The cruise was a collaborative effort between USM, AAA of Northern New England, and Holland America.
As reported in the Portland Press Herald, the trip was primarily funded by private donations, which allowed students to pay less to embark on the trip. The program was envisioned and headed by the Chair of the Tourism and Hospitality department, Tracy Michaud Stutzman.
The itinerary for the cruise’s four-day stay in Bermuda was selected by interns in the Tourism and Hospitality program, a driven group of students that included USM seniors Jenna Rossnagel and Haylee Munson, who interned with AAA last spring.
“Opportunities like the internship with AAA and the cruise class allowed me to fuel my passion for the tourism industry,” said Munson.
Michaud-Stutzman commented that the cruise allowed students to “apply their knowledge and have an unprecedented learning experience in the ‘real world.’
Last month, USM, Holland America, and AAA of Northern New England hosted a fundraiser luncheon that’s success ensured the cruise program’s continuity for at least one more year, according to the Portland Press Herald.
“This year we are working more closely with locals on Bermuda to create an even more engaged itinerary of the Island,” Michaud-Stutzman explained.
“Also, we really hope to have more than just Tourism and Hospitality students taking the class,” said Michaud-Stutzman.
Students interested in broadening their horizons through travel and incomparable experience should apply for an internship position with AAA or sign up for the class, TAH (Tourism and Hospitality) 307. This year’s cruise departs from Boston on May 21, 2016.
“Being part of this program exposed us to several aspects of the Tourism and Hospitality industry that we can further pursue in the state of Maine,” said Rossnagel on the success of the cruise, “whether that is through a local company or starting our very own company in the future.”
And with Maine being the popular tourist destination that it is, the stability and future of the state’s economy–particularly Portland’s economy–rests in the hands of talented young people like these students.
“Students who travel outside Maine can bring back new ideas and innovation,” said Michaud-Stutzman. “This perspective will benefit Maine and Portland as these students contribute to growing and managing tourism here so that we retain what makes this place so attractive in the first place.”