University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy attends the first Board of Trustees meeting of the new fiscal year in Belfast, July 11, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

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After serving in the U.S. Army for three years and seeing first hand how a bureaucracy works I enrolled at the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham (UMPG, now the University of Southern Maine) in the fall of 1970. Tuition was $450 per semester and the GI bill benefit reduced it to $225, without books or room and board.

I have never attended any alumni events and never donated one thin dime to the University of Maine System. Some of the readers may now understand why. I believe the trustees in the majority have little business sense and the profligate spending has gone on for years until the law of diminishing returns finally kicked in as a result of massive tuition  increases which have now caused a more than 12 percent decline in enrollment since 2016.

The numbers are devastating. But even worse is the decline of enrollment by Maine students. All this tells me is Maine students are poorer than out of state students, otherwise there would not be the difference in tuition costs.

I think the trustees have failed miserably in the vetting process for both Chancellor Dannel Malloy, former Connecticut governor, and now Michael Laliberte, who had received votes of no confidence at his former university. Malloy failed to disclose his knowledge of the no-confidence vote at State University of New York at Delhi to most of the trustees. I think he should have been fired on the spot. Also, why do we need fifteen trustees if all they are going to do is farm out the hiring process to what appear to be overpaid and incompetent consultants? Furthermore, the Legislature needs to take the politics out of the nominating process and a new rule should be that only Maine-born and permanent residents of Maine can ever become chancellor or trustee.

As a publicly funded institution, the University of Maine has failed to deliver a usable diploma in the marketplace at a reasonable price which Maine students have now rejected. The next CEO should be a Maine business person and the trustee count should be reduced to five persons, all from Maine but no politician or bureaucrat.

Dudley Gray

Rangeley Plantation