4 UVM Stories Stirring Up Emotions

We’re never ones to shy away from controversy, so here are four on-going news stories involving UVM that have stirred up a lot of emotions. 

You may have missed them, particularly if you don’t live in Burlington. But, they each involve important conversations that will shape UVM for years to come.

As always, let us know if you have comments or questions at afterword@uvm.edu.

1. Taxing Fraternity and Sorority Houses
Photo credit: James Buck, Seven Days

This topic has come up for many years, but in 2014 the Vermont Legislature passed a new law repealing the property tax exemption for the 10 fraternity and sorority houses starting in 2017.

Here’s the latest on the topic:

2. Building a New UVM Sports and Events Center in South Burlington

UVM events center_plaza_front_view6

At the end of February, the City of South Burlington held a press conference about the possibility of a building brand-new multi-purpose events center in collaboration with UVM.

What does that mean? It means a new facility for our basketball and hockey teams and more fitness facilities for all students, since Gutterson and Patrick would be re-purposed.

Of course, it’s not that easy. There are big, huge questions to be answered first and lots of conversations to be had before anything happens.

Here’s the scoop on this story:

3. Construction on Campus


This one is a hot topic on campus and off-campus. Here’s a quick list of all the construction current and upcoming projects.

  • STEM Complex. Angell Hall is gone, Cook will be gone very soon, and Votey will be completely renovated. Two new buildings will replace them and house science, technology, engineering, and mathematics labs, classrooms, and offices.
  • New Residence Hall.  The shoeboxes are gone and no other class will know the love and hate those little gems evoked. The new residence hall will house a large portion of first-year students and offer a new dining hall.
  • UVM Medical Center Expansion. The hospital needed improved spaces for patients, so they are expanding in the area near shoeboxes and Converse Hall (don’t worry, Converse isn’t being touched).
  • Alumni House. We’ve mentioned this a few times, but construction and renovations are almost done on a historic house on Summit Street. It will be a space just for you on campus.
  • Billings Renovation. Because of millions in alumni donations, the most famous building on campus is getting a serious makeover, which will restore much of its architectural glory and house important academic programs on campus.
  • Taft School Renovation. Also because of a generous donation, an old school on the corner of S. Williams St. and Pearl St. will be renovated to house all of the visual arts at UVM.

There’s construction everywhere and it certainly disrupts the daily schedules of thousands of students — but, there’s a lot of promise in all those trucks and cranes.

4. How UVM serves Vermonters


This is a perpetual topic of conversation on campus, in the community, and Vermont politics. And it’s filled with gray-areas, messy politics, and tons of statistics that tell a variety of stories.

Here are a few sides to the story.