Fighting the downsizing of education at the University of Vermont.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

UVM Funeral March to Protest Budget Cuts and Layoffs

Thanks to Carol for the camera, Llu for the videography, Didier for the editing, and everyone for coming out!

Next up:

Students Stand Up meet Monday, 6:30 pm, MLK Lounge, Billings
United Academics' "Don't Downsize Education at UVM" Press Conference, Thursday, 11:30-12:30, Memorial Lounge, Waterman
Stay tuned for events and actions related to Friday's Board of Trustees meeting

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What are the alternatives?

Tomorrow's "The Death of UVM Education?" funeral procession highlights what will be dealt a mortal blow -- experienced faculty, small classes, livable dorms, affordability for Vermonters, job security, respect for long-time faculty and staff etc. -- if President Fogel's plans go through to downsize faculty and staff while boosting the number of students and tuition. But we're also emphasizing that the administration has alternatives to balancing its budget that don't put the health of our university at risk. Those alternatives include ....

TAP THE ENDOWMENT: As argued in the Chronicle of Higher Education, colleges and universities lucky enough to have a decent endowment should tap that endowment to make it through the national recession rather than resort to downsizing faculty, staff, and education. Business Week lists UVM’s endowment, after the stock market plunge, at more than $202 million. Tapping just 5%—$10 million per year—over the next 3 years could get UVM through the national downturn without squeezing more from students. 

SLOW THE PACE: The dramatic size of the budget deficit is due not so much to a dip in stock market revenues, state support reduction, and administrative overspending but much more to the administration’s aim to change rapidly UVM’s long-standing practice of financial “planning”: underbudgeting for actual academic and student support program needs, then making up the difference each year with “one-time” funds. Now the administration wants to force programs to reduce, adjust, and live on an amount that’s never been adequate. If UVM needs to alter its budget practices, it should not happen quickly, under the guise of crisis, and by starving academic programs.

IF CUTS MUST BE MADE, CUT FROM THE TOP: For a campus of 12,000 students, UVM has grown top heavy with 22 vice presidents, more than 24 deans, plus senior directors, liaisons, officers, and vice provosts. Between 2001 and 2007 spending on top executive salaries nearly tripled, from $2.6 million to $6.1 million. A return to the 2001 executive salary pool would net $9 million in salary savings over two years—and save the jobs of faculty and staff on whom UVM’s future and reputation depend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Funeral March Friday to Observe - and Protest - the Death of Education at UVM

***Please Distribute Widely***


This Friday UVM deans are to submit to President Fogel their plans for meeting "budget reduction targets"--including plans to lay off staff and faculty, cancel such fundamental courses for as English 1, and double and triple class sizes, all while hiking up the number of UVM students and the tuition they pay.

JOIN STUDENTS, STAFF, & FACULTY TOGETHER in a march against downsizing UVM jobs and education. While the deans will deliver to President Fogel plans that portend the death of education as we know and value it at UVM, our march will deliver a coffin bearing the death of education should these plans be accepted--and call on the administration to pursue alternatives to cuts, layoffs, and tuition hikes!

Got class until 12:35 pm? Join the march as we reach the steps of Waterman!

For more info, visit and come to Students, Staff, and Faculty Together upcoming planning meetings: Wednesday, 1/21, 5-6:30 pm, Lafayette 210, and Monday, 1/26, 5-6:30 pm, MLK Lounge, Billings.

Students, Staff, and Faculty Together is a coalition of campus groups and individuals who oppose the administration's current plans to balance UVM's budget through downsizing education and jobs. We promote alternatives to layoffs and tuition hikes including scaling back executive salary spending, eliminating executive bonuses, slowing the pace of UVM's budget practice changes, and--as recommended by the Chronicle of Higher Education to safeguard long-term educational quality and stave off more tuition hikes--tapping the endowment.

**Dorm-Storm to Get Out the Word on Campus: Protest Cuts, UVM Has Alternatives**

Meet TODAY (1/20) 5 pm, Fireplace Lounge, Living/Learning. After a quick discussion and distributing petitions, pamphlets, and flyers, small groups will spread out among the dorms to knock on doors and talk with students about Students, Staff, and Faculty Together, the petition, Friday's march, and getting involved.

And THURSDAY (1/22), 12 noon, billiard table lounge area, first floor Davis. Following a short discussion, groups will spread out to talk with students, staff, and faculty in the Davis Center during the lunch hour about the petition, Friday's march, and getting involved. ALL STUDENTS, STAFF, and FACULTY WHO WANT TO HELP ARE WELCOME!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Forum Says No to Cuts and Layoffs, UVM Has Alternatives!

Last night's forum, sponsored by Students, Staff, and Faculty Together, drew a standing-room only crowd to hear panelists Kat Nopper, UVM senior and SSFT coalition member; David Shiman, UVM professor and United Academics president; Tony Magistrale, UVM professor and United Academics member; and Tricia Chatary, UVM staff and SSFT member plus join the discussion about alternatives--with hearty applause for cutting from the top instead of laying off faculty and staff and tapping the endowment instead of adding students and hiking up tuition.

In addition to the petition we launched last night, the crowd and panelists had many suggestions for next steps and actions. To act on these ideas and more, we need everyone to our next planning meeting: Wednesday, January 21, 5-6:30 pm, Lafayette 210.

Can we do it? Yes, we can! Stop the cuts at UVM!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Charting the Spike in UVM's Executive Salary Spending

President Fogel insists that there has been no dramatic growth in top administrative salary spending during his reign, but the UVM's publicly available year-by-year listing of base salaries tells another story: Between 2003 and 2007 his administration added $3 million in salary spending for top administrators while salaries for the 700 faculty represented United Academics made only modest gains.

Click on the chart to see it in full size

Yellow Curve: Represented faculty (source: UVM Sourcebook 2008, taking the figures from 2003 to 2007 and charting the total change)

Blue Curve: From data posted on United Academics’ website on UVM Base Salaries. The group represented by the blue curve is comprised of central administrators (president, provost, vice presidents, and highly paid associate vice presidents), academic unit administrators (deans and highly paid associate deans, including the medical school), and directors who could be identified by that title in the UVM Directory (three from the Medical School, three from other units) and who received base salaries greater than $150,000 in 2007. Salary histories are then traced back as far as they appear in the data base. However, some new positions were created, and so the overall trend of the blue curve represents the combined effect of salary growth (for the top 19 positions, this growth was 38% compared to the 23% increase for represented faculty) and the increase in the number of positions (from 19 in 2003 to 30 in 2007, a 58% increase) for a combined increase of 91%. 

The sharp increase beginning between 2005 and 2006 may be attributed to the arrival of Dean Grasso of CEMS, hired at a base salary 35% higher ($206,000 a year ) than his predecessor. This appears to have triggered salary increases for other executives. These salary increases also occurred during a time when internal financial controls, by the administration’s own admission, were lacking.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Important Dates for the Coming Week!

Help Students, Staff, and Faculty Together poster for the week's coming events, including the Thursday forum and Tuesday's SGA resolution for a budget-cut, layoff moratorium. Meet 3 pm Sunday in the lobby of Lafayette (near vending machines). Bring tape and staplers; we'll have the posters!

And spread the word for

*Monday: Students, Staff, and Faculty Together planning meeting, 5-6:30 pm, MLK Lounge, Billings, followed by the Student Labor Action Project emergency meeting for students to prepare and mobilize for the week, 8 pm, Billings North Lounge.

*Tuesday: Student Government Association meeting, which will both host a Q&A session for students with President Fogel on the budget deficit and planned cuts and take up a resolution for a moratorium on cuts and layoffs. Be there with your questions and arguments for President Fogel and to support the moratorium!

*Thursday: Students, Staff, and Faculty Together sponsor "Budget Cuts and Layoffs at UVM? Causes, Consequences, Alternatives," 6:30 pm, Sugar Maple Ballroom, Davis. Let's fill the ballroom with the campus community so we can get informed about - and organize against - the administration's plans to expand the student body while cutting faculty and staff.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Forum on Budget Cuts and Layoffs: Causes, Consequences, Alternatives

Save the Date
Thursday, January 15
6:30-8 pm
Sugar Maple Ballroom, Davis Center, UVM
Budget Cuts and Layoffs at UVM?

* Causes
* Consequences
* Alternatives

A Campus Discussion sponsored by
Students, Staff, and Faculty Together

UVM's administration says that increasing the student body and tuition while laying off faculty and staff will be necessary to make up a projected $28 million budget shortfall. But what are the causes of UVM's budget deficit? What are the potential consequences of the administration's budget-balancing plans? What are the alternatives? Join Students, Staff, and Faculty Together - a coalition of campus groups seeking alternatives to layoffs and tuition hikes as a means to address UVM's budget shortfall - for this urgent campus conversation.

Join SSFT's announcement list: Send an email to and in the message write Subscribe SSFTANNOUNCE your_email_address

Students, Staff, and Faculty Together meets Mondays, 5-6:30 pm, in the MLK Lounge, Billings (adjacent to the CC Theater).

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