FARMINGTON — Gov. Paul R. LePage, reacting to signs held up by students at the University of Maine at Farmington on Tuesday, walked off the outdoor stage mid-speech at the dedication of the new Education Center.  

“I’m done,” LePage said, after offering a couple of lines from the greetings he intended to offer.

LePage was among the guests invited to speak at the ceremony to dedicate the center to former UMF President Theodora J. Kalikow.

He stopped abruptly and walked away from the lectern. The incident happened so quickly, most in the audience appeared to be unaware of what was happening.

“Thanks, idiots,” LePage said, waving to the protesters as he walked past a large crowd of faculty, staff, students and community members who had gathered to honor Kalikow.

Reportedly, one student — perhaps more — standing in the back of a large crowd gathered on South Street held up signs, which caused the governor to react.

The poster-size signs were quickly folded after LePage responded, according to some witnesses who could see one student and one sign but said they did not know what it said.

According to published reports, one of the student signs read: “LePage: Maine’s Shame.”

A second sign read: “Report Card, Subject: Environmental Issues, Theo Kalikow A+, Paul LePage F.”

After LePage left the stage, University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page quickly took his place and the ceremony continued.

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