Cynic to Chief Tuomey: what’s your 20?

Staff Editorial

For the last three months, UVM Police Chief Lianne Tuomey has been on paid leave.

Deputy Chief Tim Bilodeau has been acting in her place. No one has been hired to take the deputy position, leaving UVM Police short on leadership.

The University, to put it plainly, has not been forthcoming in providing reasons for Tuomey’s absence.

UVM spokesperson Enrique Corredera said that Tuomey was not suspended. But he could not say anything about the nature of the leave, according to an Aug. 7 VTDigger article.

On a brief phone call with the Cynic this week, Tuomey said she’s been dealing with personal matters.

The Cynic believes in respecting individual privacy and is not in the business of speculating. We are not a tabloid or gossip magazine. We are not the paparazzi.

UVM should be proud to have a female police chief in a world where that is still rare. As a fellow organization with female leadership, we’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt.

But when an individual takes on a position as public and as important as police chief, questions and scrutiny comes with the territory.

Three months is a long time to be away from a job. If the New York City police chief was away from work for an unspecified reason for the same length of time, people would ask questions, and those questions would not go unanswered.

Going to college is already an uncertain and challenging experience.

Many of us are away from home, living in a new state surrounded by new people. We rely on our campus police officers to keep us safe, so when the police chief goes missing, we might feel a little less secure.

In addition, the mere fact that the police are not being transparent with the public is a problem in and of itself.

The police as an entity are demanding our respect and trust when serving us.

UVM law enforcement have an immense amount of power on campus and we students are allowing them to have that power. However, this is a two-way street.

If the police demand respect and trust from us, we must demand trust and respect from them. We must demand transparency.

The University community deserves to know where Chief Tuomey is because her absence affects us all.