Walters: David Mears to Leave Vermont Law School | Off Message
Pin It

Monday, June 11, 2018

Walters: David Mears to Leave Vermont Law School

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 3:31 PM

click to enlarge David Mears - CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
  • Contributed Photo
  • David Mears
Former state environmental conservation commissioner David Mears is leaving his post as director of the Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center effective at the end of June. Mears said he wants to pursue other options in environmental advocacy, but his rather sudden departure comes shortly after VLS president Thomas McHenry announced an unspecified number of layoffs and cutbacks.

Mears was a faculty member at VLS from 2005 to 2011, when then-governor Peter Shumlin named him commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. In 2015, Mears left state government and returned to the school. Last August he was named head of the Environmental Law Center, which is a key part of the school's mission and appeal. E&E News, an online outlet for energy and environmental news, first reported Mears' resignation.

Mears dwelled on the positive for himself and the school, but hinted that the cuts played a part in his decision. The latest round of layoffs was announced on May 30.

"I wasn’t planning on this," he said. "It was a decision I reached in the last month."

When asked if it was a coincidence that he began considering a change just as the college was preparing cutbacks, Mears simply said "No." He would not elaborate.

The Vermont Law School is battling to emerge from a financial drought. Years of low enrollment led to drastic cuts in 2013. But Mears believes the school is in a position to be successful.

"There are many young people who want to be engaged in environmental policy and law," Mears said. "We’ve seen a significant uptick in enrollment. There’s a real need for the law school’s programs."

VLS leadership would seem to agree, at least judging from its own website. It boasts of "... the largest and deepest environmental program of any law school," and notes the Environmental Law Center is a key contributor to the schools' "consistently high ranking ... from U.S. News & World Report for environmental law."

Mears is less than three weeks away from his departure date, but has no specific plans for what's next. He's confident that his skills and experience will make him an attractive candidate for environmental advocacy of some sort in some arena, in Vermont or elsewhere. "I want to be in a place where I can help drive change," he said.

For Mears, the Vermont Law School is apparently no longer that kind of place. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

About The Author

John Walters

John Walters

John Walters is the political columnist for Seven Days. He is a longtime journalist and spent many years as a news anchor and host for public radio stations in Michigan and New Hampshire. He’s the author of Roads Less Traveled: Visionary New England Lives, published by Plaidswede Press.


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation