Calls for UVM president to step down grow louder on campus

As the University of Vermont considers cuts to more than 30 majors and laying off three senior lecturers, students, faculty and alumni are calling for President Suresh Garimella to step down.

Other complaints include the school’s budget practices, including pay increases for top executives UVM also plans to close its campus children’s school, a childcare resource at the college.

For one UVM professor, opposition hasn’t come without what she calls threats from top administrators to silence her and other faculty. Nancy Welch, professor of English, said it came after she shared the word about a petition calling for Garimella’s resignation.

“I was threatened with suspension of my UVM email which would make it impossible for me to do my job within a pandemic,” she said.

At a press conference Monday, students also expressed concerns over how the university is handling violations of rules designed to stem the spread of COVID-19 on campus, calling student suspensions and other punishments extreme and unfair.

“A slap on the wrist for some and a life sentence for others is not an equitable way to run a university discipline system,” said Chrysanthemum Harrell, a senior.

Another student says she can no longer confidently recommend the university to prospective classmates.

“I tell these students to look elsewhere if they don’t want to live in fear that their programs might be gone,” said Cameron Bauserman, a graduates student. “I tell them this is a place that loves to use BIPOC in their marketing material but their students don’t matter much outside of glossy pictures.”

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