Anonymous letter calls for more humanities funding


Sam Litra

President Tom Sullivan and trustees convene at the board of trustees fall meeting Oct. 27. An anonymous email sent to UVM promises rallies and riots over the university’s lack of funding for arts and humanities.

Sawyer Loftus, Assistant Breaking News Editor

An anonymous email has been sent to UVM promising rallies and riots over funding for arts and humanities.

Several pictures of an email were posted Nov. 29 on a popular UVM parents Facebook page.

The message has been reportedly sent by a student on behalf of other students from the humanities, arts and language departments at UVM, according to the email.

The email condemns UVM for incorrectly allocating funds to other departments in STEM fields and funding for a new $96 million multipurpose center, according to the email.

The author demands new professors be hired to increase the availability of more courses that many need but are not being offered, the email stated.

Specifically, the email cites a lack of Russian history professors which has caused the University to cut classes and put some Russian majors behind, the email stated.

The Royall Tyler Theatre independently fundraised enough money to build a new theater but that the University “stole” the funds, the email stated.

The email demanded that a new theater be built and is willing to discuss the demands with University administrators, the email stated.

A student close to the writer or writers of the email said students are planning to meet with the assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at some point this week.

The student declined to provide their name fearing repercussion from University officials and parents in the UVM Facebook group, they said.

The student met with university officials this week and satisfactorily addressed  the concerns, said Enrique Corredera, UVM director of communications.

An email provided by Corredera shows Bill Falls, the dean of the College Arts and Sciences, responded to the student’s concerns, Corredera said.

UVM has spent $84 million of the $332 million in capital project investments since 1995 in the humanities, and have not cut classes, Falls stated in the Nov. 3o email.

“Humanities and arts courses have not been cut,” Falls stated in the email. “While it is true that as we respond to declining enrollments we are not currently hiring new faculty, we continue to have a robust faculty that offer an array of courses serving all of our arts and humanities majors.”

Falls cited a falling number of student enrollment in the College of Arts and Sciences of 17 percent as the reasoning behind cutting some faculty positions, the email stated.

“Over the last seven years, student enrollments in Arts and Sciences have declined by 17 percent,” he stated. “During that same period, the College’s tenure/tenure-track faculty declined only 5 percent while non-tenure-track faculty actually increased by 16 percent.”

In November 2017, UVM cut a dozen classes taught by part-time faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In early 2018, the College of Arts and Sciences announced that 4.875 full-time-equivalencies, or 5.5 percent of non-tenure-track faculty equivalencies, would be reduced in Fiscal Year 2019.

David Rosowsky, provost and senior vice president of UVM, responded to criticism in a 2017 Cynic letter to the editor, stating he and President Tom Sullivan stand behind the humanities.

“Recently, we have invested in a number of projects of direct benefit to the humanities including the Billings Library, the Taft School, Royall Tyler Theatre, Wheeler Barn and Southwick,” the letter stated.

The University approved the building of a $100 million STEM facility in 2015, according to an April 2015 Cynic article.

The building was the most expensive project ever approved by the UVM board of trustees, according to the article.


This article was updated 12/7/18 at 7:14 P.M. to include comment from the University of Vermont.