June 7, 2007
Daniel Mark Fogel
To Our Friends at Vermont Interfaith Action:
Since I cannot be with you for your gathering on June 10 at Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, I wanted to share this brief personal overview of the results of our recent discussion about the potential for the construction of affordable housing on UVM land.
I think we had a very frank and productive meeting on May 31st. Although we did not see eye to eye on everything, we found much comment ground among us; we have a good foundation from which we can move ahead and make progress on creating more affordable housing. - particularly for UVM employees.
VIA has worked hard to bring attention and awareness to these problems, and I greatly respect the energy, passion and persistence with which you have approached this issue. Although I did not agree with some aspects of your analysis with respect to UVM's role in creating current affordable housing shortages to the local community, we did not spend much time debating these differences. Rather, we quickly moved to what I think is a genuine "win-win" strategy.
That strategy involves the University's sincere commitment to pursue the construction of affordable housing units for our employees on an appropriate site or sites. Such a project needs to be consistent with our University mission, which includes our need to recruit and retain high quality faculty and staff who need to find housing they can afford. On a priority basis we are moving forward to identify, for such a project, potential sites that are consistent with our Campus Master Plan, will not interfere with future academic and other facilities needs, and can be accomplished within our available resources. We will keep this process moving as quickly as possible, and will keep VIA regularly and appropriately informed as to our progress.
In the near term, we will be working behind the scenes with local officials in the municipalities in which the properties we are considering are located. Once we have identified our preferred site(s), a more public phase of discussion will begin.
I am proud of the countless ways UVM positively impacts the greater Burlington community every day. These impacts will be enhanced and strengthened when this project comes to fruition. Be assured that this effort has my full personal commitment and support.
I wish to thank Vermont Interfaith Action for its possible role in helping to address important set of issues, and, with your help and encouragement, I have every confidence that we will succeed in this effort to create more affordable housing at UVM.
With every good wish, sincerely,
Daniel Mark Fogel
COMMENT: Shocker - I was surprised by the Fogel response. I want to believe his sincerity in finding a solution to this problem.
Be assured that this effort has my full personal commitment and support.
I am cautiously optimistic. One of the VIA tenets is accountability from officials. We already have the attention of UVM (power respecting power).
We will keep this process moving as quickly as possible...
VIA has done it's research. Its listening campaign strategy of building relationships works. Now the real work begins. Feasability studies can take place over the summer. VIA expects UVM to report back at the end of August.
Relatedly, UVM's liveable wage figures have gaps.