By: Matthew Seaver, Web Editor
Lyndon State College’s future remains uncertain.
Thursday, July 21 the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) Board of Trustees approved Chancellor Jeb Spaulding’s initial proposal to unify the Lyndon and Johnson State Colleges into one.
The campuses and programs will remain as they are with opportunities for students to access some or all of the facilities and programs from the other school.
The decision to merge the two schools comes from declines in enrollment and state funding. The unification will help to cut the cost of running the two schools while still allowing both to operate as they have been.
“It’s driven by the financial realities that we face.” Interim President Nolan Atkins said.
Chancellor Spaulding will present a more comprehensive plan for the unification that will be voted on by the VSC Board of Trustees at a meeting held on September 29.
As the proposal stands, if fully approved, the two schools will come under the control of one administration on July 1, 2017.
According to a frequently asked questions page on the Lyndon State College web portal, current JSC President Elaine Collins would become the president of the two campuses, as well as other administrative positions being combined.
While the two campuses will remain separate, they will both be under a new, yet to be named school with an identifier for the campus being attended. For example, “Unified college name” at Lyndon.
Degrees earned up until May 2017 will be from Lyndon State College. All degrees earned after that date will use the unified name.
One of the benefits that will come alongside unification is access to the each campuses resources and classes. Athletics will remain separate.
The unification is no secret to the students of Lyndon.
“We all know about the unification and I think having SGA talk about it will help the student body understand what exactly will be happening and how it will affect us as a whole,” Student Government Association President Cassie Helmar said.
Some students are already looking forward to the change.
“I see nothing but positives about the unification with Johnson,” says Lyndon State junior Jake LaCerda.
Josh Laroche, a Resident Assistant and LSC Junior has similar thoughts.
“I think that the unification is not something that is that debatable, as from my understanding it is necessary for Lyndon’s existence. As far as the implementation of the unification, as long as it benefits the students at lyndon and Johnson, I have no problem with it.” Laroche continued saying, “If cut backs are made at one school and not the other and it becomes inconvenient for students at either school to complete their education, that’s when I’d have a problem. However, all in all I am for it, as the identities and uniqueness of the schools will remain separate, and I can only see benefits for students.”
Atkins and others have stressed the importance of communication between administration and the community.
“We all need to be a part of the conversation,” he said.
There will be an open session on unification on Thursday September 9 at 12:30 p.m. in the Moore Community Room, where students learn more about the unification or ask any questions of Jeb Spaulding, Elaine Collins or President Nolan Atkins.