Letter: Through partnership, SVC may survive

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To the Editor:

I appreciate the Banner's opinion on the importance of preserving nursing in the region. I also think partnering makes sense in many contexts and on many levels. Partnerships leverage strengths and create win-wins. I explore some of this below — contextualized to education.

Now, I do have several concerns and observations and ideas (would you expect less of me?).

1. I still am not convinced that SVC is going to close. Sure, it may look different but a group of us are still working on myriad options.

I surely get the need to protect current students, whether in nursing or Rad Tech or any other program, and MCLA and Castleton have stepped up to help. I appreciate the Banner's noting closure but closure is but one option. I still hold out hope. Again, closure is not a certainty. No funeral yet.

Why? Partnerships can still emerge.

2. If SVC can remain open or reopen, I want to think that Castleton, MCLA and SVMC would consider re-partnering or partnering anew with SVC. There is value in that and lots of new opportunities that may make real sense. And there could be other partnerships with other colleges.

3. A hurdle: There is lots of trauma and anger. And it can and should be addressed. But we need to be clear as to where anger should be directed and how to address issues in a trauma sensitive, trauma responsive way. Folks can direct it to me as some have within and outside the SVC community; that's ok though disappointing; I have broad shoulders.

But think partnerships not partisanship or pickiness or perishing.

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4. To return to the Banner opinion, I would suggest that partnering — broadly defined — is not, as also noted as well in the Chronicle today, the demise of small colleges or other educational and non-educational efforts in a small state.

For me, SVC can and should still partner as part and parcel of its survival. And that's precisely what some of us are doing right now: looking for and finding and developing potential valuable partnerships. Near and far!

Let's see if they can work. Time is not our friend. Partnering takes effort and trust.

Before leaping to conclusions and saying Pooh-Pooh, keep an open mind and open heart.

Why? Some of these efforts get students thru the summer and faculty and staff paid and a pathway forward. If they can happen, we don't eradicate the hard feelings for past deeds but we do honor commitments and caring and courage.

My advice in the meanwhile: Don't bite the hands that might just feed you. It is not productive and it is denying hope.

Karen Gross,

Washington, D.C.

The writer is a former president of Southern Vermont College.


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