Senate leads inquiry

Surprised and frustrated by Health Services’ request for a $100,000 increase in its student segregated fee budget, on Monday Student Senate asked for a departmental review of the program.

On Dec. 6, the Senate Finance Commission approved $817,817 of the $850,000 Health Services requested for next year.

They were concerned about the requested increase for the program because no additional services will be provided and student fees for services will be raised. The commission wrote the resolution requesting that the administration set up a departmental review.

“My hope is that we as students get a better sense of how we are spending our money,” said Student Senate Finance Director James Hanke. “I hope we’ll be better prepared for future increases.”

Health Services Director Laura Chellman said she supports the unit review. She said while she understands Senate’s concern with the recent budget increase, everything Health Services asked for was necessary.

She said it’s part of economic reality that prices rise, particularly in the medical field.

Hanke said he hopes the review will give both the administration and students a chance to look at the personnel budget.

It’s non-allocable, meaning whatever Health Services asks for in the area of salaries and fringe benefits the Finance commission is obligated to allocate.

Student Senate President Justin Hentges is in charge of organizing the review board. He said he will work on forming the board during winter break and hopes to have it ready by February.

Chellman said she is more than willing to open Health Services’ doors to the board. She thinks many people need to be educated about what goes on in her department.

She said the amount of money Health Services is requesting isn’t out of order compared to other UW-System schools.

Without the money, Chellman said, Health Services will not be able to maintain the level of service it now offers.

She said the department is typically booked solid. If services had to be cut, students would probably have to go to area clinics and hospitals.

A normal checkup for an earache or sore throat would cost $75 to $100 and would have to come out of health insurance or a student’s pocket, she said. Such checkups are free for Eau Claire students at Health Services.