Vermont State Colleges System Chancellor Jeb Spaulding announced this morning that he is withdrawing the reconfiguration recommendations he brought to his Board of Trustees earlier this week. That proposal included reducing the number of career focused liberal arts campuses from three to one, closing the Northern Vermont University and growing at Castleton University. In addition, Vermont Technical College’s Randolph Center campus would have been closed, consolidating selected programs to their Williston Campus.
“Our Board of Trustees heard loud and clear from thousands of students, employees, communities, and the State’s elected leadership and determined that my recommendations would be damaging on many levels and would not be acceptable. I accept their judgement. Indications are positive that the State leaders will be assisting us to get through the immediate problem, although we are not sure of exactly how at this time. We will be taking additional time to work with elected, campus, and community leaders to redesign the Vermont State Colleges System to be sustainable. That means we do not plan to close campuses this fall,” Spaulding explained.
Spaulding stressed, “I am taking this action with strident caution that the current configuration of the Vermont State Colleges is not sustainable; it cannot continue for long. Through whatever process we define a more workable solution to this problem, it will surely be disruptive to the VSC’s current mix of 4 colleges and universities and 5 campuses.” He added that he will begin work immediately to formulate a new proposal, which will include seeking input from the Legislature, the administration, and community and campus leaders.
VSCS Board Chair Church Hindes said, “Decisiveness during particularly urgent times is a critical element of sound leadership and is especially difficult when that sense of urgency is not widely shared or understood.”
Chancellor Spaulding and the VSCS Board of Trustees are committed to working with the legislative and executive branches to sustain the VSCS system allowing for an inclusive and deliberate process towards a workable alternative solution over the course of the coming months.