Rumors have spread across the Castleton University’s student body regarding the impact the upcoming Vermont State University merger will have on their futures in recent weeks.
Students have questioned the legitimacy of a Vermont State University degree, what course offerings will look like for current students, and how they will fit into a rapidly changing university.
The concerns stem from a lack of information about the merger process and a general feeling of being left out of the discussion, students say.
“I really don’t know what will happen. I’m a transfer student who came to Castleton because of its affordability, but also because I knew that over time, it’s begun to develop a more reputable brand as a really good school,” junior Will Danforth said. “So yeah, I would be disappointed to see [my degree] matter less.”
Danforth, and others feel ignorant to the merger as it is proceeding and worry the Castleton they know and love will lose certain characteristics that made them choose the university in the first place.
“I think it complicates things for all of us and could impact our futures in employment, due to the credibility that could be gained or lost from our name and identity change,” freshman Zach Durr said.
Student Government Association President Ryan Boeke assured that these concerns have been brought to both the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees and Castleton faculty and that the three groups are aiming to dispel these illegitimate rumors.
“Just to publicly put it out there and let them know, your degree is not any less credible. Whether you graduate from Castleton University or from Vermont State University at Castleton. The degree is the degree. The only thing that will change is your diploma.”
Boeke also went on to say the students graduating this year or next year will receive degrees under Castleton University and will likely be sent Vermont State University degrees once the transformation is complete.
When reached for comment, President Jonathan Spiro said he was “disgusted by the people who spread these rumors” and that they were, by all means, categorically false.
“In my twenty years at Castleton, these are hands down the dumbest rumors I have ever heard,” Spiro said. “Any such changes would be illegal and would immediately cause us to lose our accreditation. And if you don’t believe me, just ask any of the 20,000 students and alums of Castleton State College if any of these rumored effects happened when we changed our name to Castleton University in 2015.”
Another rumor in circulation surrounds students having to change their current degree programs under the new course offerings of VSU. Boeke dispelled this as well, adding that current students will follow the degree track they originally signed up for.
“I definitely heard all the rumors about degrees with the name change, but hearing students already enrolled aren’t going to have to have Vermont State University on their degrees, is something I love,” senior Sky Hulser said. “Castleton was a school I chose specifically because there’s so much history here. There’s a lot of prestige and credit and pride that goes into attending a college that has that kind of history.”