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Fogel Can’t be Trusted, Says Local Hipster

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For months I had heard about the infamous “round table” discussions, forums in which the students of this university are invited to meet with their noble leader, Daniel Mark Fogel. I had deliberated for a while about the worth and usefulness of such an event. Finally, however, I forced myself to attend-after all, I figured, I might as well meet the man who wields the power to change the face of our institution.

So here I sit, quietly, in tandem with the silence of the twenty other students in the room. Finally, Fogel walks in, greeting everyone with his plastic smile. Gesturing towards a platter filled with assorted pastries, he invites us to indulge in the finest that the University Dining Serices has to offer. A nice gesture, but most of the students in the room recognize the intestinal perils of the campus dining system. Fogel, however, doesn’t recognize the dangers of these little treats, grabbing a few on the way to his seat.

Students begin to raise their concerns about the university. After listening to a string of questions and answers, I begin to become slightly annoyed with the Fogelian method of approaching an issue. It seems that Fogel, rather than favoring clear and direct responses to topics, prefers to deftly maneuver around those issues that prove his shortcomings. To address one student’s desire for more funding for an obscure sports club, Fogel replies by noting his commitment to improving the status of the UVM sports teams. Building a huge stadium and allowing students free access to games will, according to him, increase the prestige of the UVM sports teams. He is, he claims, fully committed to the university’s sports programs.

I notice, however, a blatant disregard for the question at hand, for nothing is said about whether or not this student’s program will receive any additional funds. Through deft political maneuvering, he has distorted the topic, presenting only the areas he desires to accentuate. The real issue to be discussed, sadly, is left by the wayside.

After listening to a half-hour’s worth of Fogel’s hot air, I catch the first glimpse of the real Daniel Mark Fogel and the ideas he supports. He, in addressing a graduate student’s request for more funding, replies that he is going to change the way that the university issues stipends to graduate students for their living expenses.

“In the past,” he says, “the university has issued stipends equally to the graduate students of all fields. I plan to give students in the pre-med and pre-law programs a higher stipend than all other graduate students.”

I’m perplexed by the Fogelian logic. Why, I wonder, do certain students require more money to live on than others? Do certain students require more money for food and clothing than others?

At this point, I can contain my skepticism no longer, and I burst out: “On what grounds do pre-law and pre-med students deserve more money to live on than other students?” UVM, he responds, has to remain competitive in the market for these valuable graduate students. We must, he claims, offer them more money than other institutions in order to bring them here.

I wonder, however, why students of pre-law and pre-med are more desirable than students of English or philosophy? Couldn’t the same argument be made for graduate students of these disciplines to receive a higher stipend?

This aspect of the Fogelian vision, to any sane human, reeks with absurdity.

Issuing students of a certain discipline more money than others denotes that certain disciplines possess more value than others. At an academic institution, where learning is the highest good, shouldn’t all disciplines be valued equally?

I walk out of the discussion heated by the unfounded biases of our leader. The spirit of UVM, I fear, will fall like the trees of the Waterman green, squashed under the heel of Dan Fogel.

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Fogel Can’t be Trusted, Says Local Hipster