What is the plan?

UVM’s budget shortfall has prompted a panicked flurry of finger pointing and witch-hunting – some rational and some not. This is a natural, human response to any major crisis. We applaud the administration’s willingness to talk with students and faculty about the hard financial times we are facing, but we need to be filled in on the plans.Last week at the SGA meeting Fogel responded to questions about taking a pay cut by explaining that he would be willing to do so, however it is not part of the administration’s plan for solving the current crisis.This raised the question of what exactly is the administration’s plan?We have been hearing how everyone is going to have to make cuts, professors will be asked to leave, class sizes will grow and building projects will be put on hold.But then why is it that the administration is not making major cuts of their own?We do not understand what the University’s plan is and it is hard to not read this situation as an attack on our education.We are watching as tenure-track professors leave and are replaced by lecturers with less experience and qualifications and class sizes grow to the point of threatening fire code, yet we see the multiple layers of administrators continue to make six figures.We understand that the University is a business and in order to run it successfully we need the minds that occupy Waterman. Until this point the administration has done a masterful job of pulling us out of much of the chaos that surrounded the University throughout the ’90s.But somewhere along the way we are afraid they lost focus in what is important. We go to a University and the education of the students must be the first and most important priority.How can the University hope to move forward without some of its brightest and most successful minds leading the way and the small classes that make UVM one of the most prestigious public institutions in the country?How do we plan on holding on to professors – let alone attracting new ones – when they receive no support from the administration?If everyone is forced to make cuts, why is it that the administration does not impose pay and position cuts of their own? Whether it is part of the plan or not, how do administrators hope to successfully run an institution where no one believes they are making the sacrifices everyone else is forced to make?We question where the University’s priorities lie and what they feel is most important for the students, because at the end of the day, we are the ones that are important. Without us, there is no University and it is hard to see the same large enrollment we have seen in recent years if the quality of education significantly decreases.We deserve – demand – answers to these questions. We have given too much to the University to not be thought of and included in decisions that will shape the University for years to come.We welcome responses from administrators and professors as well as students and staff in our quest to gain a better understanding of what is happening to the University we all love so much.