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Campus Health Services lowers fee increase proposal

Would have funded new facility

Mary Covington, executive director for Campus Health Services, announced Sept. 27 a cut from $21 to $8 in proposed student health fee increases.
Mary Covington, executive director for Campus Health Services, announced Sept. 27 a cut from $21 to $8 in proposed student health fee increases.

Campus Health Services leaders have canceled plans for a new facility in the name of keeping costs low for students.

And it was students’ voices that changed their minds.

Mary Covington, executive director of Campus Health Services, said officials decided to cut the fee increase proposal from $21 to $8, resulting in a total fee of $429 rather than $442.

Student representatives voiced opposition to the fee increase at a student fee advisory committee meeting on Sept. 27, citing tuition increases and the newly implemented requirement for students to have health insurance.

That committee is the first committee that hears and evaluates proposed increases.

Leaders decided, as a result of the input, to cut the increase.

And at the student fee advisory subcommittee meeting Friday, Covington proposed the lowered fee increase.

Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs, cited the fact that tuition will likely increase next year in the organization’s decision.

“I guarantee there’s going to be more tuition increases whatever we do,” he said at the Friday meeting.

Dakota Williams, the student body treasurer and a member of the subcommittee, said that given rising costs, students shouldn’t be asked to fund a new facility.

“I just feel like the student body cannot sustain a new capital venture,” he said at the meeting.

At Monday’s committee meeting, members voted unanimously in support of the new increase, passing it on to next Friday’s subcommittee meeting.

The portion of the fee that was cut would have funded the payment of the facility’s construction manager, as well as its schematic design.

Covington said the budget was drafted in the spring.

“Sometimes it’s hard to have a crystal ball and know what the economy is going to be like,” she said.

“We’ve heard from student input at the meeting last Monday that it was a difficult time for students,” Covington said. “So we revised the form with that in mind.”

The new facility is planned for completion by 2016 or 2017, she said.

Planning would take two or three years, and construction would take another two, she added.

Depending on the growth of the student population, the building could be expanded at its current location or it could be moved to a new location, she said.

The $8 increase will cater instead to increasing staff salaries and medical, communication, malpractice and maintenance fees.

Williams said he was pleased with the department’s consideration of students’ concerns.

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“I’m incredibly impressed at how receptive the department was to student opinion,” he said.

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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