NEWPORT — This weekend the Vermont State Colleges United Professionals, The VSEA Staff Federation, and the faculty assemblies of all four Vermont State Colleges overwhelmingly voted “no confidence” in Chancellor Jeb Spaulding.
They say these votes have been under consideration for several weeks, but Friday’s announced plan to close three campuses increased their urgency.
“There are many reasons for this vote of no confidence, but the most important is that Chancellor Spaulding has repeatedly made decisions without adequate consultation, without a thorough analysis of the data and without thoughtful consideration of the long-term consequences,” Linda Olson, Vice President of Higher Education for AFT Vermont said.
Chancellor Spaulding’s proposal for restructuring, which was released on Friday and was slated for a vote today, has since been postponed.
“We are dismayed with the Chancellor’s representation of the needs of the Colleges to the legislature,” Kate Gold, President of the VSC United Professionals, AFT Vermont said. “Representatives from the unions have listened in as the Chancellor testified before both the House and Senate Education Committees. He presented no clear asks of legislators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Other reasons cited for the vote include the consolidation of a payroll system that caused massive payroll and benefits problems, the fact that the campuses were told to start the process of notifying current and prospective NVU students that they would be moving to Castleton prior to a vote by the Board of Trustees, and the way in which Chancellor Spaulding consistently refers to the VSCS as “the corporation” and talks about the bottom line.
Olson also said that Spaulding’s lack of appreciation for the unique role the Vermont State Colleges play in Vermont communities, their impact on our students and communities, and the future of Vermont make it clear he is not up to the task at hand.
“The Chancellor wants to retreat at a time when we need vision. The colleges should be central to the recovery from COVID-19,” Olson said.