We must not go down this path. Maryland has rejected the national trend of disinvestment in higher education. From Pennsylvania to California, university budgets have been slashed, resulting in massive tuition hikes, significant layoffs, devastating cuts to service and erosions in quality. During this period, Maryland has chosen a different — and smarter — direction. Recognizing higher education as the engine of innovation, discovery and knowledge that will propel our economy and quality of life forward, Maryland made funding for the USM a genuine priority. It would be tragic if we allowed a completely self-inflicted wound, one so easily avoidable, to turn the promising and prosperous future that is within our grasp into unfulfilled potential. More than tragic, it would be unforgivable.