Letters to the Editor

The impact of UVM cuts: a sixth perspective

Mar 18 2021, 4:32 PM

The article on the UVM department cuts describe the personal tragedies of eliminating positions and liberal arts majors. Anytime programs or positions are eliminated, it creates the anxiety of change. Organizations evolve and in the private sector survival requires change. For the higher education system in 2021: Welcome to the real world.

FYI, UVM students and staff, there has been a pandemic going on the past year. Thousands of private-sector jobs have been eliminated, businesses have closed and those remaining open have limited hours or customers. This has had a devastating effect on the Vermont economy.. 

As the economic consequences ripple through Vermont, UVM must make tough decisions. VTDigger recently published an article on the financial challenges facing UVM. This included expenses related to Covid that exceeded $20 million. This past fall/winter, many students chose a “gap” year, decreasing enrollment and furthering the budget woes.

While it is nice to preserve longtime majors that influenced students’ choices and careers, how about ideas or solutions to the economic shortfall other than attacking the school administration? Maybe staff/professors in the humanities and liberal arts programs should focus on discovering the reason for declining enrollment, and how to increase enrollment. Maybe offer a budget plan to save departments. 

In the private sector, when a product or a business is in decline, tough decisions are made to fix or eliminate financial pitfalls. Maybe it is time that UVM eliminates declining enrollment programs with limited job prospects for graduating students.

Mike Malekoff