Irresponsibly photoshopped by Adriana Eldred and Rebecca Flieder
Tensions involving the constant constriction of budgets has affected not only students, but staff and faculty as well. Some staff have taken it upon themselves to drive the efforts further. The Vermont State Employee’s Association (VSEA) has created a petition calling on the chancellor, board of trustees and lawmakers to increase funding for the Vermont State College System.
“We’ve been trying to figure out ways to convince these guys that we need money,” says Sandy Noyes, chairperson for the Vermont State Colleges represented staff chapter. Noyes says that not only are classes, staff positions and faculty positions being cut, but many positions opened after employees retire are not being filled.
“They’re depending on part-timers,” says Noyes. According to her, departments such as housekeeping and maintenance are also running on fewer and fewer people as well.
Despite the cuts that have happened at each of the VSCS campuses, Noyes feels that not all levels of the administration have sacrificed as much as others. “We all need to cut back,” says Noyes, “and I do not see the Chancellor’s office cutting back.”
Noyes suggests that part of the issue is the separation of the administrative headquarters in Montpelier, when it could be housed on any of the VSCS campuses to make them more accessible. “We need to work together to make this work, but how can we with the people up [there] – in their palace, we’ll call it – and we’re down here, in the latrines digging out everything.”
Jessica Aupperlee, administrative assistant in Public Safety, first heard about the petition at a VSEA meeting. “I just felt like something needed to be done and this state really needs to step up and fund higher education,” says Aupperlee.
Aupperlee has sent out emails, passed around petitions at campus events, and distributed them to offices around the college. “Every person who I’ve approached has signed it,” she says. Having student loan debt of her own, she feels that students are graduating with even more debt than they can handle.
“Students are graduating with so much debt that they can’t start their lives,” she said.
The petition has been distributed to the public as well, says Noyes, because the towns and communities the colleges live in are reliant upon the college’s students’ and employees’ participation in their respective economies.
Noyes hopes to have the petition collected in time for the next meeting of the VSCS Board of Trustees in December.
Noyes hopes that the petition will show the trustees just how serious the VSCS communities are about increasing state funding. “If we’re going to keep these colleges running – all the state colleges – we need to show students that we’re working for them too, because it’s not fair that we balance our budget on their backs,” says Noyes. “And it’s not fair to balance the workload on the staff’s back.”
You can find the printed versions of the petition all around campus, including the Public Safety Office, the Library help desk and Noyes’ office. You can find the online link at: https://www.jotform.com/vsea/VSC