UVM at Castleton? It could happen

If Vermont Gov. James Douglas has his way, Castleton State College will at some point be referred to as the University of Vermont at Castleton. In his inaugural address the governor talked about the possibility of merging UVM with the five Vermont State Colleges: Castleton, Lyndon, Johnson, Vermont Tech. and Community College of Vermont.

“We can establish a higher education system better positioned to meet the needs of the student bodies,” Douglas said. “This marriage of resources from infrastructure to administration, programs to athletics, will allow each college the freedom and flexibility to better focus on targeted academics, offering the very best to each student.”

Douglas isn’t rushing into anything just yet, though. As he went on to say in his address he has a task force that is gathering information and determining whether or not the merger is a good idea.

Then on Nov. 15 the task force will report back.

When asked what his thoughts were on a possible merger with UVM, Communications Director Ennis Duling said he’d want to know if it was going to benefit CSC.

“We have a long and proud tradition of providing good education at CSC and I’d want to make sure that the merger would improve our education but our distinctive traditions would remain,” Duling said. “I remain open-minded, though.”

For Castleton President David Wolk, the idea arose unexpectedly.

“The merger came as a surprise,” Wolk said. “None of the VSC were told prior to the announcement in the address.”

In order for the merger to happen it would have to pass the Vermont State Legislature and Wolk doesn’t feel that is likely to happen right now, as there is no information about it and the legislature wants to see a plan.

One thing about the possible merger that concerns Wolk is that UVM is much more expensive than Castleton.

“It will have to be demonstrated that we’ll retain the same high level of education at a lower cost than UVM,” he said.

Like Duling, Wolk says that he is keeping an open mind to new ideas.

As for how CSC students feel about the merger, Courtney Nolan, who is a sophomore, says that she thinks the idea is really neat.

“Both schools are cool and it would be nice to join forces,” she said.

Phil Barry said that he didn’t really care one way or the other about the merger; however, he will be graduating this December, so it may not affect him.

Joel Lombard who is a junior and a community advisor, offered his own two cents on the matter.

“UVM merging with the state schools will offer a lot more opportunities for the state schools, but honestly I think it will bring down UVM’s ‘name’ so to speak,” he said.

Lombard thinks that the question that should be asked lies elsewhere.

“What is UVM going to gain from us really?” he asked.

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