Missing faculty,’ students confront administration

Hundreds of UVM students gathered on the grass between the Bailey/Howe library and the Davis Center to protest February’s “Phase One” of administrative budget cuts on April 9.The protest was organized by Students Stand Up (SSU), UVM’s radio station WRUV and United Academics, UVM’s faculty union, in a show of solidarity against the $10.8 million cut out of the University budget.Thursday’s walkout was in response to the administration’s continued refusal to comply with SSU’s list of 13 demands, including one to “revoke all dismissals,” that SSU has spread around in recent weeks.Despite the efforts of SSU and their supporters, UVM Chief Financial Officer Richard Cate said in an interview conducted before the protest that February’s cutbacks are here to stay.Cate said that the reason for this stems from “structural” issues, and that the fiscal year 2010 still has a shortfall of at least $12.8 million, regardless of the possibilities for help from state funding or student tuition.Christina Krupp and Wendy Gunther, both Bailey/Howe library staff members, were among the more than 20 protesters carrying large cardboard cutout “Missing Faculty” signs among the rally of hundreds.”We’ve been lucky at the library, but we know people outside of the library that have suffered,” Krupp said. “We have lost positions in the library, but no one has been laid off yet. We end up with more work and less people to do it.”Senior Emily Strongwater was one of the students who carried a ‘missing faculty’ cutout to show her support.”I think [the walk-out] is a good idea,” Strongwater said. “President Fogel needs to realize that the students know what’s going on and that we are not so naive.”The women and gender studies department had some faculty representation at the protest, since six lecturers from the program were notified that they will not be re-hired to teach this fall as a result of the cuts.”In all my years in Vermont, I have never seen the University take a turn like this,” one of the ‘non-reappointed’ lecturers in women and gender studies, Anne Shepardson, said to the crowd.Shepardson said there were 107 lecturers throughout the University who are also facing the loss of their jobs. The administration has not verified this number.Members from the cut baseball and softball teams once again made their presence known at this protest. UVM junior Rachelle Boone said that she is transferring because she has “no option to stay or play [softball].”Boone said that she wishes the administration would consider reinstating the baseball and softball teams.”A lot of kids are transferring because there’s no point in staying [at UVM] if we can’t play,” Boone said.After the speeches finished, the group traveled to the President’s Wing of Waterman where Cate met them in a similar fashion to their last protest in February.Cate refused to give the packed hallway an immediate “yes” or “no” to the demands list, but gave a “not yet” response instead. Cate did say that the administrators were studying some of the demands.The protesters dispersed and members of Students Stand Up said that they are planning their next course of action.