Closing NVU-Lyndon, NVU-Johnson, and Vermont Technical College’s (VTC) Randolph campus would migrate Vermont’s higher educational engine to the Champlain Valley. The Burlington metropolitan area already exerts economic and political dominance over the rest of the state. Depriving Vermonters of access to educational and cultural resources in this manner would be unfair and inequitable.
The Vermont State College (VSC) system deserves to maintain its autonomy and identity independent of the Burlington-based University of Vermont. The free exchange of ideas and speech has fallen under attack on American college campuses. VSC can and should meet the real and unmet need for intellectual diversity in higher education. We will attract intellectually curious young people from across the nation by positioning our institutions as bastions of free speech.
We should offer select trade specialties on each campus and strive to make these programs the best in the nation.
We are in this predicament for three reasons.
First, declining student enrollments follow the general abandonment of Vermont by middle class families. The lack of upwardly mobile careers, punishing taxes, heavy-handed regulations contribute to this.
Second, decades of financial malpractice characterized by spending billions on first-in-the-nation projects (e.g. OneCare VT’s All-Payer), which fail.
Third, the state does not equitably fund our public educational institutions (K-12 to post-secondary).
Unless Vermonters elect leaders who will correct these systemic wrongs and implement policies of pro-economic growth, the VSC system will be the first of many dominoes to fall.
Hansen is a candidate for lieutenant governor.