Privilege Fee Committee debates raising Counseling Services allocations

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CORRECTION: There was an error in the previous publication for this article, Sarah Niederee was incorrectly referred to as “Sarah McDermott.” The Collegian regrets this error. If you see something that should be corrected or clarified, please contact The Collegian via email at news@kstatecollegian.com

The Student Governing Association Privilege Fee Committee continued its debates for raising allocations to Counseling Services on Monday.

Sarah Niederee, committee chair and senior in entrepreneurship, began the meeting by taking a room-wide poll of members of the PFC to “gauge” standing. The majority of members agreed that an increase would be their recommendation to SGA senate, but the amount was unclear.

The debates centered around the merits of and against justifying the the privilege fee increase to allow for salary raises for current and future employees of Counseling Services. Another topic that was prominent in the conversation was the prospect of allocating money to professional development and training.

“Salary increases, I just don’t feel that it is a good argument to be made,” Mark Buckwalter, junior in accounting and finance, said.

Jordan Martin, senior in computer science, said he believes moving salaries toward the median would help retain quality staff members of Counseling Services.

“They are helping students,” Martin said.

Niederee said she did not think increased salaries was about retaining current employees, but for attracting new counselors to help lower current wait list numbers.

Counseling Services reports that in November 2017, the waitlist reached 90 students. The recommendation by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors recommends that universities with a population equal to Kansas State should have a waiting list that does not exceed 71 students.

Dalton Maples, senior in education, said he would ultimately vote to raise the current privilege fee allocation.

“Gambling on mental health is not something that I think we should do,” Maples said.

Ryan Kelly, sophomore in civil engineering and communications, said he didn’t think there was any way for the PFC to actually “qualify” the positive interactions the students who seek counseling have with current counselors and psychologists.

Niederee moved to table the event to take additional questions back to Dan Larson, director of Counseling Services. Niederee said she would return to the committee with more information about exact salary information and financial data.

PFC will reconvene Monday, Feb. 19 at Lafene Health Center. Debate on Counseling Services will continue Monday, Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

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I'm Kaylie McLaughlin, the assistant news editor this semester. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnees, KS. My background focuses mostly on broadcasting and digital media, but I've always loved writing. I'm a sophomore in journalism and mass communications with a minor in French and a secondary focus in International and Area Studies. In my free time, I like drinking coffee and reading news magazines.