UVM enforces employment inequity

UVM offers discount rates to employers seeking access to their student body based on race and sexual identity

Photo by Anna Shvets

By Michael Bielawski

In a potential Civil Rights Act violation, the University of Vermont is apparently offering special rates in its Employment Partner Program to businesses that are either considered minority-owned or by people with different sexual preferences or identities.

The following is currently posted on the UVM Career Center webpage.

“Special Rates: Following our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, we are proud to offer a $500 discount to nonprofits, government agencies, and woman-, LGBTQ-, POC- owned businesses. We are also happy to meet with any small VT business to discuss options that work in your budget.”

VDC reached out to the university for comment but they have not yet returned the call.

The program is designed to link employers with the student body so that they can get the recruits they need.

The policy is a potential violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. National Archives states, “This act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal. It was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.”

The policy may also be a violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) which is defined on as “a federal civil rights law that forbids lenders to discriminate against loan applicants for any reason other than their ability to repay. Specifically, ECOA protects consumers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, eligibility for public assistance, or the exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.”

Many potential employers may wish to utilize this program for recruits, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce there is an extreme work shortage.

“We hear every day from our member companies—of every size and industry, across nearly every state—they’re facing unprecedented challenges trying to find enough workers to fill open jobs. Right now, the latest data shows that we have 8.8 million job openings in the U.S., but only 6.3 million unemployed workers,” their report states.

State lawmakers pushing similar programs

Vermont as a state has been pushing similar policies that prioritize resources by race or other identities. According to a report by True North Reports in April of 2021, there was a bill moving through the statehouse that would prioritize land ownership in the state based on race and other forms of identity.

“H.273 aims to foster racial and social equity in land access and property ownership by creating grant programs, financial education, and other investments “targeted to Vermonters who have historically suffered from discrimination and who have not had equal access to public or private economic benefits due to race, ethnicity, sex, geography, language preference, immigrant or citizen status, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or disability status.”

According to the bill’s page on the State Legislature’s website, it did not become law.

City of Burlington also pushes social justice in its community gardens policy

The City of Burlington has also been under scrutiny for policies that promote public resources to select groups or for people who support certain social justice views.

As reported in True North Reports in 2022, the city community gardens require participants to sign onto a policy statement that includes “Being proactive about educating myself on matters of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging” and “Being aware of my own privileged identities and how these affect others and understanding, acknowledging, exploring and challenging my conscious and unconscious biases.”

The policy remains posted today unchanged from as it was during True North’s report.

The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Categories: Education

5 replies »

  1. Government can never legislate equity by creating policies and laws that discriminate against others due to the color of their skin or ethnicity and call that equity. I was discriminated against because I am white after those civil rights laws were enacted decades ago. I was already doing the job as a temporary worker at the university I graduated from. My boss told me he wanted to hire me permanently but the law would not allow him to do so. He said I was the most qualified applicant, with experience at that job, and he wanted me, but because I was not black or Latino he could not hire me!
    I understand how horrible it feels to suffer discrimination, but trying to fix the wrongs committed by others in the past by discriminating against others now is just crazy and wrong, a complete injustice to the new victim while doing nothing to repair the previous damage done to the other parties.
    Ironically, I worked in the social equity office and my boss was one of the kindest caring bosses, and very sad while he apologized to me. And yes, ironically, he was a black man forced to discriminate against a white woman by the government and the university! That is what happens when government tries to legislate away atrocities and discriminates against others! Two wrongs never make a right!

    • Your testimony indicates your white privilege was mute and useless for employment purposes. So, I must ask the DEI folks again – Please disclose how white privilege is utilized and advantagous then or now? Who is keeping the secret white key to success hidden from us pale faces? I suspect the secret is hidden in Hillary’s server in the basement sitting along side Obama talking into The Biden’s earpiece.

  2. Nearly EVERY SINGLE Asian family in America I have met dispel the myth of “white privilege”.