Letter to the editor: The Apple of his eye

 

In last week’s issue, your staff editorial briefed the candidates for the next president of the University of Vermont, yet withheld your official endorsement until next week’s issue. 

Having attended several of the open forums and noticing I was one of maybe three students in the 150-strong audience, I wanted to applaud The Cynic’s focus on the candidates. 

In a year when our national leadership is being contested, the world is being brought together for the London Olympics and the universe may be destroyed in December, we as students shouldn’t forget how important the next leader of our University is.

The salary is large and the office cozy, perhaps, but the role of a university president truly is to provide direction, to decide and to lead. 

However former President Fogel is viewed currently, the vision he authored shortly after arriving at UVM stressed expanding services and facilities. 

This vision ultimately led to the construction of the Davis Center, both U Heights North and South and the Jeffords building, as well as the greening of Aiken. 

This vision is now being translated into the “programs and people” realms of UVM and, as before, we need leadership. 

Although students may not be fluent in University topics such as the “Strategic Initiatives Project” or the contention over the “Transdisciplinary Research Initiative,” someone is needed to both tackle those projects AND reconnect them to students. That is going to take a lot of work. And, to me, Thomas Apple is by far the top candidate.

Although not as energetic as Palazzo or business-like as Hay, Apple was the first candidate whose love of learning was the easiest to see. 

In his open forum, he stressed the importance of the undergraduate experience and the discovery of student passions, while emphasizing how crippling student debt has become. 

Apple’s responses to questions about diversity, union relations and his philosophy on university alumni all were very different from the other candidates: they were concise, honest answers. 

Now, I’m not implying that the other candidates were not sincere in their own responses, but Apple’s thoughtful, pragmatic and easily understood answers indicate to me that he is someone who is diligent and grounded. 

In a time where the direction of UVM is being contemplated at every level of governance, the one at the top needs to be able to make it all comprehensive – and comprehensible – for us students. To me, that ability lies in Dr. Thomas Apple.

 

Sincerely,

Connor Daley

Class of 2014