Privilege Fee Committee recommends a continuous increase to Lafene, tables Counseling Services increase

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The Privilege Fee Committee met on Monday in the Student Governing Association conference room to continue debates about Lafene Health Center and recommends a 1.5 percent increase to Student Health Services’ allocative entity to SGA student senate.

“I want to hear every single voice in this room; every single voice needs to speak out about this,” Heather Reed, assistant vice president for student life, said. “This is an important [privilege fee] to our students.”

Mark Buckwalter, junior in accounting and finance and at-large committee member, said he would vote in favor of increasing the current allocation because it offers “access to” non-emergency medical care at 5 percent lower than market value.

“I kind of like Lafene because we are at a time in our lives where a lot of us are very economically vulnerable,” Buckwalter said. “I like the people behind Lafene; they’ve kept their promises in the past, and I’m confident they’ll do it again.”

Jansen Penny, junior in mechanical engineering and finance, said he was “having a hard time seeing” how the requested continuous three percent increase over the next three years would make a “hard impact on students.”

“I do kind of think that even without that three, three, three percent, they would be very well within their management and keeping promises,” Penny said.

Kristen Schau, SGA intern and freshman in political science, said she believes Lafene has a good plan, but would not be in favor, if she had voting power, to raise the allocation three percent continuously.

“I personally think that a 1.5 [percent] increase, you’re meeting them halfway and recognizing and you respect the plan that they have in place,” Schau said. “But at the same time, being realistic, of what we can do, as a committee.”

Buckwalter moved that the committee increase the current allocation to Lafene 1.5 percent continuously over the next three years.

Victor Valdez-Herrera, junior in economics and student senator, said he believed the decision was a “good compromise.” The motion passed with eight committee members voting in favor and none abstaining or voting no.

The committee also decided against returning the Counseling Services allocation legislation to student senate in favor of tabling the bill.

Penny said he is uncomfortable with raising the allocation five percent continuously over the next three years because it is “really big” and the impact on students isn’t as much as he would prefer “in order to vote.”

Dalton Maples, senior in education and student senator, said the investment the Privilege Fee Committee would be be making into mental health with the proposed allocation is “vastly important.”

The bill in question was already introduced to student senate and the recommendation to increase counseling services allocations by a recurring 5 percent passed through the committee on March 1 with seven committee members in favor and three against.

The Privilege Fee Committee will reconvene at the chair’s discretion before spring break to pick up the tabled discussion about returning the bill to senate or to kill it on the table and author new legislation.

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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.