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Trustees Approve Renovations, Nondiscrimination Language

By University Communications Staff Article published May 25, 2005

In its May 19-21 meetings, the Board of Trustees approved transforming an unused building on College Street into academic offices, a three-year, $3.1 million classroom renovation, and the inclusion of language about gender identity and expression in university nondiscrimination policies.

Trustees also elected Carl Lisman as board chair. He replaces James Pizzagalli, who was recognized for his service at the May 21 meeting. Lisman, a graduate of UVM and Harvard Law School, is president of Lisman, Webster, Kirkpatrick & Leckerling, a Burlington law firm. Lisman has been active both in many professional organizations and in the community, where he has served as chair of a number of nonprofit and charitable organizations, including the Chittenden County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Baird Center for Children and Families and the Vermont Foundation for Children and Families.

The board approved several substantial capital projects, including a renovation and addition to a building at 438 College St., sprinkler and alarm upgrades to Given Medical Building and Rowell Hall and the classroom plan. Trustees also discussed architectural aspects of the campus master plan, refinements to the strategic financial model and related forecasting software, and heard from about 50 members of a group called “Put People in the Vision.” A representative of the group of students, staff, faculty and union members was given time to speak and urged the university to become a “model employer” for the state and not interfere with efforts to organize a staff union.

The board’s next meeting will take place August 25-27. Reports on the board’s discussion and activities within its committees follow.

Finance and Budget Committee: Committee members agreed on a general fund operating budget of $213.4 million for 2006 fiscal year and approved tuition increases of four percent for both in-state and out-of-state students.

A combined room and meal increase (annual rate comparisons are based on a double room and an average meal plan) of 4.5 percent was passed, bringing the cost of a double room to $4,936 and an average meal plan to $2,396. Approximately $150 of a 13.9 percent increase in student fees ($1,138 to $1,296) agreed upon by trustees will be used to help fund the Dudley H. Davis Center.

The price tag (tuition, room and board and student fees) for out-of-state students for the 2005-2006 academic year was set at $32,266, an overall increase of $1,384 over last year. Trustees were given a study comparing UVM’s tuition increases with those at other public institutions within New England. Fogel pointed out that although the university’s tuition is higher than most in the study, the comparatively modest tuition increases recently has narrowed the gap.

Academic and Student Programs Committee: Provost Bramley reported first-year, first-time enrollment for fall 2005 has reached 2,535, an impressive 22 percent increase over last year. Noting that first-year college enrollment commitments typically decline over summer, the university projects an incoming class of 2,300, the largest in school history. Additional housing needs created by UVM’s enrollment success will be met largely by converting Mercy Hall on the Trinity Campus back to residential space. Other committee discussion focused on SGA activities and accomplishments, tuition exemption for senior citizens, a presentation on sensors as an example of high potential multidisciplinary research activity, and formation of a new Graduate Student Senate.

The committee approved the following action items:

  • Restructuring and renaming the College of Engineering and Mathematics to become the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences comprising a School of Engineering, a Department of Mathematics and Statistics and a Department of Computer Science.
  • Changing the name of the Department of Biomedical Technologies to the Department of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences
  • Terminating the master’s degree in geography
  • Renaming the licensure option in the M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction Degree to a master of arts in teaching degree
  • Terminating current MAT degrees (except in classics) and master of science in teaching degrees (except in biology) in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Mathematics (except the MST in Mathematics), and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Facilities and Technologies Committee: The committee voted unanimous support for the renovation of 438 College Street into administrative and student support offices for the College of Arts and Sciences. The red brick building, often referred to as “The Nuns’ House,” was purchased by the university in 1997 and has been unoccupied since that time. Vice President J. Michael Gower told trustees that once the Arts and Sciences offices relocate, the project will free additional space for centralizing student services in Waterman Building. The $3 million renovation of the College Street house, which will include an addition in the rear to make the building fully accessible, will begin this summer and is scheduled for completion in summer 2006.

The committee also endorsed two other capital projects related to building maintenance. Work will begin soon to replace and upgrade fire alarm and sprinkler systems in the Rowell and Given buildings. Also, a campus-wide plan for classroom renovations will get underway this summer. (An article about the plan's genesis is here.

Diversity Committee: The phrase "to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression," will become part of the University's Equal Opportunity and its Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action policy statements, thanks to a resolution unanimously passed by the committee during its May 16 meeting and later approved by the board as a whole.

The change — initiated by the President's Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equity — is in line with steps taken by other institutions, committee chair Thomas Little said in prepared remarks. Previously, the phrase appeared as an annotation at the end of the policy statements.

The board-approved amended Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy Statement reads as follows:

“The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity and to a program of affirmative action in order to fulfill that policy. The University will accordingly recruit and hire into all positions the most qualified persons in light of job related requirements, and applicants and employees shall be treated in employment matters without regard to unlawful criteria including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, positive HIV-related blood test results, status as a disabled or Vietnam Era Veteran, or gender identity or expression, as these terms are defined under applicable law, or any other factor or characteristic protected by law.

“In addition, the University of Vermont recognizes that discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment are forms of unlawful discrimination, and it is, therefore, the policy of the University that discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment will not be tolerated.”