Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System on Wednesday unanimously approved consolidating three Vermont State College System campus into a single institution to be called Vermont State University, starting in July 2023.
But the transformation involving three of the four system schools, Vermont Technical College, Castleton University and Northern Vermont University, isn’t universally supported. At Wednesday’s special meeting, trustees some current and former students, faculty and community members said they opposed the consolidation.
“Anyone who has done the majority of work in a group project knows how the Castleton community feels right now,” Gabrielle Tamasi, a 2012 graduate of Castleton College, said. “While the Vermont State College System faced years of decline, Castleton had a decade of growth.”
Some people wanted to see data that indicate the name change would help solve the college system’s problems. Others stressed that the individual campuses still need to be marketed for the transition to be successful.
Vermont State College System Chancellor Sophie Zdatny said there is flexibility to create unique brands, but the schools need to operate one.
“It would be expensive to fully brand every institution, every campus separately,” she said. “We need an umbrella brand that we can then have sub-brands.”
The Lyndon and Johnson communities have been through this unification process before, when it became Northern Vermont University in 2018. Faculty say it’s important to do it better this time around.
“There are many nationally recognized programs still reeling from the brand change,” Meaghan Meacham said. “Regardless of the name we carry, Lyndon will always be Lyndon at its core and our students know what our campuses have to offer.”
Recruitment for the first class at Vermont State University will start next fall.