Senate hears proposal for increased health fee


ASWSU senators during Wednesday’s meeting.  Three resolutions were passed during the meeting.

The ASWSU Senate heard a proposal yesterday for a Health & Wellness Services student fee of $204, a $20 increase from the current fee which accounts for 59 percent of the department’s revenue.

Renee Coleman-Mitchell, executive director of Health & Wellness Services and Counseling and Psychological Services, presented to the 16 senators at the meeting.

Mitchell expressed concerns over the lack of medical personnel, stating that this year they are losing four medically licensed staff members. Two are retiring and the other two are resigning to take on jobs elsewhere. Mitchell said she is concerned because it is hard to attract doctors to Pullman.

She said that this increase in the fee will also help them expand the facility because they are experiencing “growing pains.” Mitchell informed the Senate that she will be making this same proposal to the Board of Regents in March, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association has already expressed their support of the motion.

Resolutions 46-09, 46-10 and 46-12 were all unanimously passed later on in the meeting.

Resolution 46-09, written by Sen. Kevin Schilling, encourages the different colleges across campus to create more five-year programs. Schilling said this resolution was for those students who were already planning on staying for five years and could benefit from a one-year master’s program.

Resolution 46-10 was also written by Schilling after the increased concerns over the safety of Highway 26 amid recent student deaths. The resolution acknowledged the deaths and expressed the Senate’s condolences, while also calling for the addition of passing lanes to Highway 26 to be put on the Cougar lobbying agenda for this legislative session. Passing lanes are slated for construction on Highway 26 by 2025, but this resolution calls for that schedule to be moved up.

Resolution 46-12, written by Sen. Garrett Kalt, encourages the effectiveness of the post-moratorium community action plan among the Greek community. Kalt yielded the floor to members of the WSU Greek leadership, including Interfraternity Council President Dakota Renz, Panhellenic Council President Maddie Johnson and Center for Sorority and Fraternity Life Director Daniel Welter.

Renz said this was a time for the Greek community to reflect and to get back to its values.

The Senate confirmed Steven Hart to the Election Board during the meeting. After a short speech and answering a couple of questions from the Senators, Hart was unanimously confirmed and sworn in to the board.

The Senate also confirmed the election calendar. Starting tomorrow, anyone can officially declare their candidacy for the ASWSU spring election. The applications will close Feb. 10.

At the end of the meeting, Vice President Kyle Strachila announced the possibility of another student fee proposal from the Pullman Fire Department. Strachila said the department is interested in proposing a $25 – $50 fee in exchange for free ambulance rides for all WSU students.

Strachila said 40 percent of all ambulance rides in Pullman are for WSU students, and that sometimes student can be afraid to call an ambulance because they cannot afford it. Right now an ambulance ride costs anywhere from $800 – $1,100. It is traditionally a flat rate and then an additional $17 per mile.

Strachila stated that he thought this could be the most impactful proposal he had heard all year and he was excited to get it on the ballot. The official proposal has not yet been made, so it is unclear whether this referendum will go on the spring ballot.

In order for a referendum to go on the spring ballot, it must be proposed to the Senate by Feb. 8, due to the change in deadline made during Friday’s special ASWSU meeting.

Editor’s Note: This article’s headline has been updated to reflect that the ASWSU senators heard the Health & Wellness Services proposal but did not vote on it.