Grossly mismanaged

Vermont’s State Colleges have been grossly mismanaged. While this mismanagement is due to decades of underfunding, the most recent “transformation”, beginning with the poorly executed decision by then Chancellor Jeb Spaulding to close three of the four colleges, and now exacerbated by the failing leadership of Chancellor Zdatny and her current Administration – which has been fraught with exclusion including: numerous meetings of the Chancellor and Board of Trustees that keep information cloaked in “Executive Session”; the hiring and resignation of its first President within his first nine months of arriving in Vermont; and the growing disillusionment of students, faculty, staff, and alumni as a result of numerous false starts toward what the Chancellor and Board call “transformation.

Because of it, the Office of the Chancellor and Board of Trustees have left our public colleges in a precarious state. Students do not have confidence in what will be available to them – whether it be libraries, athletic programs, or even fields of study; faculty are overworked, under-appreciated, and excluded from decisions that will affect their students, programs, and their very jobs. Lastly, the greater community is left scratching its head at exactly what is being “transformed” for the better. 

The transformation that needs to happen must begin with restoring the colleges to local leadership, reducing the power now concentrated within the Office of the Chancellor, and restoring the budget required to fund that office’s payroll (in excess of five million dollars per year) to the colleges themselves.

Otherwise, our state colleges will continue to be diminished and will lose their distinction as institutions that provide equity for students of all abilities and economic backgrounds to flourish – and not just under the guise of “workforce development” which favors corporate interests over a student’s full potential as a self-actualized person in any number of liberal studies. It’s up to us to prevent that from happening. Vermonters, and those who choose Vermont for their education, deserve a quality of education that is provided through equity, opportunity, affordability, and self-determination.