Our Opinion: Community support makes the difference


As reported in Monday's Bennington Banner, local businesses and the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce have organized a fundraising effort to help Southern Vermont College employees in need.

It's much to the credit of organizers and participating businesses that this is happening. The efforts start with SVC Appreciation Day on Saturday, which also happens to be the same day as SVC's final commencement.

The group will be launching various initiatives to raise funds for a "SVC Staff Support Fund," dedicated specifically to staff and faculty of the college.

"We understand that the college is making every effort to ensure that its employees all receive the full compensation they are due," Matt Harrington, executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Banner on Monday.

"At the same time, we know that the college's finances are extremely limited and that it still has numerous obligations to meet. Therefore, we are hoping to help by providing support that ensures the college can support its employees and meet its other obligations in a timely fashion."

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During SVC Appreciation Day, participating stores and businesses will donate 10 percent of sales to the SVC Staff Support Fund. Anonymous donors have pledged to match up to $22,500 of funds raised.

That effort should be generously supported by our community.

Unlike those individuals and institutions who made loans to SVC, the employees didn't take on risk when they agreed to work for the college. They signed contracts and employment agreements which stipulated that they would be paid for services rendered. And those employees now face bills and continuing obligations of their own that they cannot repay until and unless they are paid what they are owed.

If a receiver is to be appointed as a result of SVC benefactor Frederic Poses' recent legal filing, as reported in yesterday's Banner, it's of paramount importance to this community that the employees of SVC who have not been paid should be compensated first.

In the meantime, support of those employees will go a long way in assuring that the closing of SVC, regrettable as it is, can be remembered for bringing out the best in our community.


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