There’s no place like unknown

 

The past few weeks, UVM has become enamored with the attention-grabbing feat of finding the next UVM president. On Jan. 13, the five finalists were revealed, and they are currently being interviewed, poked and prodded. 

While most are worried about the vision that the new president will bring with them, we at the Cynic have our concerns placed elsewhere.

We are concerned with the fact that the future president is not going to have a place to live.

In past issues, we have discussed the heated debate over what to do with Englesby House, the broken-down UVM presidential mansion on South Williams Street.

The house has not been occupied since 2001, when Interim President Edwin Colodny resided there. After years of unrepaired damage, the mansion remains as uninhabitable as it was 11 years ago. 

Once again, the UVM Board of Trustees has been contemplating the prospects of renovation, yet no plans have been officially established. According to University officials, the main reason for this is the current presidential search.

What the trustees do not get is that housing will be a big factor in the candidates’ decision whether to continue in the race. 

If this house is not ready for the president when he or she arrives, what is the University to do? We do not think our tuition dollars should be spent keeping our new president in a fancy hotel while $2 million is spent to repair his or her house at the same time.

It is time to face the facts: the University let the Englesby House get this bad and we cannot just turn our backs now. This is a major priority and the construction needs to happen. 

When the trustees narrow their search, will the final candidates feel good about relocating their families to Burlington if there is no house for them to move into? 

Planning ahead, it will take months to finish the massive amount of work needed on the presidential mansion. 

If the proper motions are set in place, this construction job can be done and the new president will move into their new house just in time for the start of next semester.

Even though President Fogel chose not to live in the mansion during his time in office, he still had the option. We believe our next president should too.