March 5, 2016

UVM Greek Life and Alumni Rally to Save Their Houses

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Burlington (Mar 3) – Last year, the Vermont legislature repealed the tax exempt status that fraternity and sorority houses have enjoyed since 1906. Soon, if the repeal takes effect as planned in 2017, UVM Greeks will be taxed out of existence.

 

The community is not taking this lightly. Alumni, current collegiate chapter presidents, Vermont citizens, students, and representative Barbara Rachelson (D) gathered Thursday night to fight for their cause. Throughout the night, the positive impacts the Greek community has on UVM and Vermont – as well as the detrimental effects of the repeal –  were highlighted. Last year, UVM Greeks raised over $90,000 for their philanthropies and contributed over 2100 hours of community service.

 

Rachelson introduced a bill in the Vermont House to ‘repeal the repeal’: H.725. If the bill were to pass, the houses would be able to keep their tax exempt status. If the bill were to fail, UVM Greeks would be required to pay upwards of $350,000 in property taxes each year. Alumni and students argue that this is simply unsustainable for college students who are already facing unprecedented costs of higher education. “Why would we put more burden on our college students? It just isn’t fair,” Rachelson said to the crowd.

 

The alumni pointed out that it is likely that these houses would eventually be purchased by UVM or Champlain College – eventually turning them back into nonprofits and therefore eliminating any tax gain for the state.

 

The Greek community has created a website safegreeklifeatuvm.com where you can sign the petition or learn more about the cause.

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