Earlier this week, Progressives serving in the legislature called on Vermont State College trustees to delay their vote on VSC closures.
Dear Vermont State Colleges trustees,
We are writing to thank you for delaying your vote this Monday to close Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College campuses. Moving forward, we call on you to create space for public input about the future of the Vermont State College system.
Faculty, students, staff, elected officials and the public need more than three days to respond to this proposal, particularly given that it was drafted in private, with no input from these groups.
These closures would have devastating economic consequences in some of Vermont’s poorest rural communities. Students throughout the state will have less access to educational and vocational training opportunities and 500 union jobs will be lost. We know that education is one of our most important economic development tools. We’re going to need the infrastructure of a state college system more than ever as we work to rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognize that Vermont has dramatically underfunded higher education, with very real and difficult impacts on our state college system. We are asking you to slow this decision down, so that the legislature can better understand the needs of the state colleges, the economic impacts of downsizing versus providing support, and VSC’s eligibility for any existing and forthcoming federal money, including the $1.25 billion in stimulus money that Vermont will receive this week.
As Progressives, we will continue to express our support for well-funded public education, tuition-free college, and student loan forgiveness. Please allow Vermonters and their elected representatives to participate in the critical discussion about the future of the Vermont State College system.
Rep. Mollie Burke
Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman
Rep. Brian Cina
Rep. Selene Colburn
Rep. Diana González
Rep. Sandy Haas
Sen. Anthony Pollina
Rep. Zachariah Ralph