Fogel’s Vision Perceived as Blurry, Unclear

President Fogel sent a message to students and faculty this previous week detailing an elaborate plan to change the reputation and physical landscape of the University of Vermont. The plan includes increasing the selectivity of the University, increasing the enrollment of students by about 2,000, and adding facilities that would dramatically enhance the campus environment. Some of the physical additions would include some highly needed facilities such as a campus-center complex with a unisex hair salon, a large bookstore, and fast-food vendors as well as lounge and meeting areas. The proposal includes plans to expand the size of the campus, including utilizing the newly purchased Trinity campus as a new home for the School of Education and Social Services. He also explains further details for the creation of the Honors College, a separate college with adjacent faculty and administration, to be initiated this fall. The Board of Trustees has been enthusiastically in support of the proposed plans, but students seem less than impressed. Students find some of the additions “illogical” and “not well thought out.” One particular idea that sparks anger in many is the proposed multi-purpose gymnasium with an 8,000 person seating capacity. “If Fogel went to many of the games, he would see that there are certainly not enough spectators to warrant a complex of that size,” said junior Grace Oliver, “That means that every student would have to attend a game to fill it. Is that ever going to happen? I don’t think so.” Others additions are even more puzzling, such as a (where is this to go?) bridge over a man-made stream and pond. “Someone should tell Fogel that water freezes in the cold, and it’s always cold here,” said senior Ryan Geary. Many students question the motives behind the proposed additions. “I feel like the whole point behind it is to move up in the U.S. news and World Reports rankings,” stated a freshman, who wishes to remain anonymous. “It’s his dream, not the students,” stated another anonymous student, “I just don’t think he understands why we are here,” further sitting the small school feel and relaxed atmosphere. Though students recognize many of the additions as “necessary,” and “a great improvement,” it seems as if some students find it difficult to let go of their previous resentments towards Fogel. “Regardless of what he wants to do, we’re still paying over thirty thousand for him to build a house on the lake,” said one discouraged student. There are a lot better ways to spend this kind of money,” said freshman Dana Keith, a sentiment echoed across campus. The most popular ideas among students seem to be paying teachers more, reducing in-state tuition, and better food services. Another student has less ambitious ideas, “I’d prefer nice toilet paper to a bridge and a pond. I would use nice toilet paper a lot more than I would a pond,” said first-year Hayley Block. Fogel needs to find a more effective means of communication before continuing with these developments, to avoid inciting further anger on campus. Many students and even faculty avoided viewing the lengthy message, which extended almost six pages. “I never read those messages, they’re always pretentious and full of it,” stated an anonymous teacher. A disgruntled anonymous student summed up the feelings of many on campus, “what does he think we’re going to do, read it?” “Perhaps Fogel should talk to people who actually live on campus,” said sophomore Charlotte Lee. A majority of the students questioned requested anonymity, fearing that their negative comments would result in punitive measures.