UMBC excellence imperiled by 'doomsday'

Wednesday's front page was a lesson in vision for Maryland. In one corner, Freeman A. Hrabowski III is named as one of the 100 most influential people in the U.S. by Time for what he has been able to do as president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. In the opposite corner, Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell encourages the General Assembly to leave the state's "doomsday" budget in place.

The reason we are facing doom is that Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller "ran out of time" in doing the one job that the legislature has to get done — passing an annual budget. And we find that we spent that important time trying to pass table games and slots forPrince George's County. The implication of the doomsday budget for Mr. Hrabowski's campus? About a $5 million cut in the state appropriation, which is about twice the cuts faced annually by the campus over the last few years.

UMBC faculty and staff have not had even a cost-of-living increase in three years, and students are facing serious tuition increases. As a faculty member at UMBC, I am aware of several highly respected academics who have moved out of Maryland for other positions, and it is a challenge to the school to offer competitive salaries to new faculty replacements. With this doomsday budget, UMBC (and the other University System of Maryland campuses) would be hard-pressed to retain students and faculty despite all the efforts of Mr. Hrabowski and the UMBC faculty.

All this is because of a casino? Is that the vision we want to show Marylanders, that gambling is our future and hard work and scholarship are not?

Raymond M. Hoff, Baltimore

The writer is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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