Opinion: Fogel goes on a tour

While many of us were away for spring break, our inboxes received a strategically-placed e-mail the first day of break and I’m curious to see how many people saw it.You see, I’m tapped to my inbox like an IV so I read it first thing, but I wonder how many copies went unread, overlooked and deleted.The e-mail was about University President Daniel Mark Fogel’s recent “listening tour,” and while most of the information stood in bold-faced text, many critical statements hid in the plaintext.One such plaintext statement read, “[the size and cost of administration] should be held to the most moderate levels” for the “continuing success of UVM as a competitive national university for the benefit of Vermont.”Now, wouldn’t UVM benefit Vermont more by focusing on producing well-educated students by well-educated professors instead of the size and effiency of an administration? Quality eduation comes from successful teaching, not administrating. Sure, you could make the argument that our excellent professors stem from our administration, but when you start cutting out the teaching side of the faculty and keep the adiministering side, what’s the point?Further on in the e-mail we learn that UVM will condcuct a “benchmark study” to compare UVM to its “relevant peers.” Basically, how big their adminstrations are, and how much they are paid, will determine how we should move forward.I wonder how much this study costs when we could just do our own thing for free.The e-mail finishes with a nice little bit about Fogel’s sensitivity, more regrets about Ben Stein and finally a promise to continue listening. For more than a month now, I’ve been on a listening tour of my own and some of the things I heard — like one such comment I heard about the Davis Center tunnel, now with lights and music, and how many teachers were fired to pay for it — are painfully relevant.Disgruntled ball players, nervous teachers shaking their heads or angered to the point of protest, opinionated people spraypainting messages and an uncertain future are clear signs of deeper issues than our financial ones. If you want fresh, new ideas, Fogel, walk around campus, because they are all over the place.Michael Farley is a junior English major. He has been writing for  The Cynic since 2008.