The Student Governing Association Privilege Committee met with Counseling Services again at 7 a.m. on January 29 for discussion on a 5 percent raise in the current funds allocated to the program.
After 45 minutes of continued deliberation on the topic with Donna Smith, accountant for Counseling Services and Dan Larson, director of Counseling Service, the committee dismissed without voting on the matter.
Larson said that CS would be “grateful for any increase” that could be allocated to the organization.
The increase would go toward increasing current and future employee salaries in order to maintain a more stable staff to meet the increasing demand of urgent counseling sessions as well as counteract the projected 2.5 percent fall in funding provided by the State of Kansas.
In Fiscal Year 2017, Counseling Services reported that 24 percent of total counseling sessions were urgent, which is a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Counseling Services also reported that 27 percent of the students who seek help have “intentions or thoughts of suicide.”
Additionally, Counseling Services’ waitlist reached 90 students, which is about 20 students more than what is recommended by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors for a school the size of Kansas State University.
Larson said that it would take current Counseling Services staffers four to six weeks to see individuals on the waitlist. Larson and Smith both said students expressing urgent needs are able to see counselors immediately.
By increasing allocations, Larson said Counseling Services would be able to meet the increasing demands for both emergency and less urgent client spaces.
While some members of the PFC expressed apprehension about increasing allocations due to perceived discrepancies in the figures listed by Counseling Services, Jordan Martin, senior in computer sciences and SGA senator, said he would likely vote to increase the allocation because “they save lives”.
The PFC was unsuccessful in coming to an agreement and postponed voting on the recommendation that will eventually go before the SGA senate for approval.
The PFC will meet on Monday, February 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the SGA conference room in the Center for Student Involvement for continued debate about raising privilege fee allocations for Counseling Services.