Less than a week after his plan to close three campuses in the Vermont State Colleges system was shelved, Chancellor Jeb Spaulding has announced he will step down from leadership of the VSC after more than five years in the position.
Spaulding will formally submit his resignation to the Board of Trustees at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening.
A massive outcry erupted from students, faculty and the community when Spaulding announced a proposal that included shuttering the Northern Vermont University campuses in Lyndon and Johnson, as well as the Randolph Center campus of Vermont Technical College.
That plan was pulled early last week, with the system saying they would look at other options.
In a statment, Spaulding said that “ensuring that every student, including those who are marginalized, non-traditional and from underserved and rural communities has the opportunity to attain an affordable post-secondary degree, certificate, or training must continue to be the focus.
“I realize that a fresh perspective and new leadership is necessary to move the VSCS forward in its mission. I will continue to do all I can to provide support in the transition and champion the System’s leaders as they work through the challenges ahead.”
According to a system spokesperson, Spaulding led the organization through a time of “significant challenges and disruption in higher education. These challenges have been intensified by the global COVID-19 pandemic causing more strain on organizational finances and leading the Chancellor to make the recent controversial recommendation to close three VSCS campuses, which he withdrew last week.”
The system is considering appointing VSCS General Counsel Sophie Zdatny to lead the system temporarily for a short period as interim Chancellor until a longer-term interim Chancellor is chosen.
When Spaulding submitted his controversial proposal to clse the three campuses, he said it was the only way to secure the future of the system.
“I am taking this action with strident caution that the current configuration of the Vermont State Colleges is not sustainable; it cannot continue for long,” he said. “Through whatever process we define a more workable solution to this problem, it will surely be disruptive to the VSC’s current mix of colleges and universities and 5 campuses.”
The Board of Trustees meeting is slated for 7pm Wednesday night via Zoom. The public can view that meeting here.