Jeb Spaulding

Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges.

Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System, is resigning, less than two weeks after he proposed the near-immediate shutdown of college campuses in Johnson, Lyndon and Randolph.

Spaulding was roundly criticized for both the timing of his proposal — in the midst of a global pandemic — and for a lack of transparency in reaching that conclusion. Just five days after making the proposal, he withdrew it.

Still, the damage had been done, and there were calls for his ouster from college faculty, staff, students, local legislators and residents around the state. 

Spaulding said this morning he will formally submit his resignation tomorrow evening at a meeting of the state colleges system board of trustees.

Spaulding has been chancellor for five years, and he said he will provide support in the transition. The trustees are expected to name Sophie Zdatny, the state colleges system’s general counsel, as the interim chancellor.

The state colleges — particularly Northern Vermont University in Johnson and Lyndon, and the Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph — may have staved off closures for now, but the colleges are still in financial peril. Some say the attention given to the financial problems is sure to harm enrollment this fall.

“It is with a heavy heart, but firm resolve, that I submit my resignation as chancellor of this incredible organization that I have been so privileged to lead,” Spaulding said. “Ensuring that every student — including those who are marginalized, nontraditional and from underserved and rural communities — has the opportunity to attain an affordable postsecondary degree, certificate, or training must continue to be the focus.”

NVU was dealt another potential blow yesterday, when college president Elaine Collins announced she is a finalist for a job in Lansing, Mich. 

Full coverage will appear in Thursday’s paper.

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