UVM lays off 16, eliminates varsity baseball and softball

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(Host) Sixteen administrative staff were laid off at the University of Vermont on Friday and two varsity sports were eliminated to help balance the budget.

No faculty were laid off, but the administration says contracts will not be renewed for a number of lecturers next year.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, students weren’t satisfied.

(Chant) “Money for jobs and education, not for Fogel’s administration.”

(Sneyd) Students would have preferred to see UVM President Dan Fogel take a pay cut.

Ish McDonald is a sophomore from Minnesota studying community and international development.

(McDonald) “The biggest message is that he has over 24 vice presidents all making over six-figure salaries and he refuses to make cuts from the top going down. It’s the bottom people. It’s the arts people that are losing teachers. And that’s got to change. Today and now.”

(Sneyd) McDonald was in a crowd of a few hundred students who marched from the student center to Fogel’s office.

They argue that the personalized education that UVM is known for is in jeopardy.

They didn’t get a meeting with Fogel. But they did spot him through a glass wall, coming down a stairwell.

(Meeting) “…they’re not going to pay attention.” “Hey, that’s Fogel.” Boos.

(Sneyd) Fogel didn’t stop. He headed around the block to the university’s public relations office for a round of interviews with the media.

Fogel says the students are wrong and academics have largely been spared.

(Fogel) “We see the university, despite these challenges, as maintaining its positive trajectory and as in fact needing to take these measure in order to fulfill our goal of coming out of this downturn stronger and sooner than most other colleges and universities.”

(Sneyd) Fogel makes the point that many of UVM’s fellow institutions have had to cut much deeper. Dartmouth College, for example, laid off 60 and eliminated 150 jobs.

At UVM, there will be 16 layoffs for now, and possibly 26 more, if the recession deepens. About 40 vacant faculty and staff positions will be left unfilled.

Class sizes will grow slightly. Right now, there’s one faculty member for every 15 students. Next year, that will grow to one-to-16.

And in athletics, UVM will eliminate two varsity sports – men’s baseball and women’s softball – after the spring season.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd

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