On our next president

The weeks are flying by and the Board of Trustees is getting closer to the long-awaited decision of choosing UVM’s next president. At a glance, all five candidates seem equal in experience after many years of resume-worthy-additions. We at the Cynic wonder whether having a seven-page resume is enough nowadays. There’s the esteemed yet modest Sabah Randhawa. He recognizes the apparent strength of the medical program, and hopes to match it with better graduate programs and a focus on the liberal arts. Randhawa is certainly in the right place to advocate for the liberal arts. Oregon State University was apparently not the right place, as he supported the school’s investment in six initiatives, none of which focused on the liberal arts or humanities.  Meredith Hay seems to disagree with Randhawa’s radical reforms. She seems to insist UVM is already a great institution and refrains from mentioning how she would reform or better our University. Hay advocates “listening” above all as the best way to bring together the “entire community and [decide] how to move the University of Vermont forward” – just as Romulus and Remus’ great listening skills built Rome in a day.   Still, she has a history of reform for the better – like her Transformation Plan at the University of Arizona, in which she used input from those at the University to accommodate extreme budget cuts. A candidate with hopes for reform at UVM is Thomas E. Sullivan, current senior vice president and provost at the University of Minnesota. Sullivan hasn’t revealed specific plans other than his belief that the student experience should improve, in addition to his inexperience with smaller schools. Robert Palazzo, in his open forum, showered UVM with praise for our courage and sensibility in an act of uncalled-for-cajolery. After coming under fire in 2007 due to his decision to ignore the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s faculty Senate’s sovereignty, the American Association of University Professors conducted an investigation in response to the controversy.  Thomas Apple, by far the most pragmatic candidate, believes in presence, transparency and shared government. Noticeably, he excludes anything about the student voice and our opinions, but he redeems himself in his hopes for better tuition assistance, so students won’t be “overburdened with loans.” The Cynic will endorse the candidate we believe best fit for our University in next week’s issue. Any students who wish to weigh in on our decision should send an email to [email protected]