Group protests educator pay cuts at UVM

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 4:17 PM EDT
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A group of faculty, staff, students and parents are continuing the fight against budget cuts at the University of Vermont.

Speakers addressed the media and community members in a press conference on Wednesday to share their message.

We reported in May that the group, calling itself "UVM Against The Cuts," organized a protest to oppose pay cuts to some lecturers. The cuts, which reduce 72 nontenured educators' pay by 25%, come as the school tries to find its way out of a multimillion-dollar hole caused by the pandemic. The educators are also having their teaching load cut by 25%.

But critics say more cuts need to come from the administration.

"So far, the administration has lined up on the wrong side of history. Their approach defends the powerful, hoards the wealth, excludes faculty, staff and students from decision-making, and fails to protect the vulnerable," said Helen Scott, a UVM English professor.

The faculty and staff group says cuts to the budget are impacting education, child care and safety on campus.

UVM school leaders responded to requests for comment in an emailed statement:

"Salary reductions that go into effect [Wednesday], and other steps the university has taken, are driven by our strong desire to save permanent employees' jobs. We approached these salary reductions in a manner that would ensure equity, with full consideration of our commitment to fairness. This is why the university used a progressive, percentage-based approach. This approach allowed us to provide special protection for our lowest-paid employees."