UNC’s Board of Governors approved a $20 student fee reduction after reviewing UNC Student Wellness’ budget and determining money was being used for non-health related services geared towards sexual health and diversity initiatives.
“Sexual health is not one of the top wellness concerns outside of preventing STDs,” said Board of Governors member Steven Long. “Most of the concerns, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are things such as stress, nutrition, a proper diet — those types of things. The emphasis was not on those higher priority wellness needs. To be generous, calling it sexual health, it was more sex counseling, it was not a wellness program.”
Though it was the focus of the board’s review, the fee reduction will not impact any of its services offered because Campus Health is divvying the budget cut’s impact among departments.
UNC’s student health fee — $436 per semester in the 2013-14 academic year — will still be one of the highest student health fee among colleges in the UNC system after the cut is enacted in August.
The Board of Trustees has agreed to review the entire student health student fee and will submit recommendations by the beginning of next year, Long said.
Dean Blackburn, director of Student Wellness, said the University is looking into alternative ways of funding the services as well as explaining why its services are vital to students.
“When students can engage in a scene... they take away a better context for the information provided,” he said. “There’s a misperception of what it is. Wellness needs to do a better job of educating our community and why we would do them and how we do them.”
A Board of Governors memo pointed out the event Orgasm? Yes Please!, co-sponsored by Student Wellness, as evidence of fee misallocation. The event provides information about sexual health and includes games, a raffle for sex toys and interactive performances.
Alban Foulser, co-chairwoman of Project Dinah, an interpersonal violence prevention group that also co-sponsors the event, said it teaches students about safe sex and consent, which is important considering campus sexual assaults.
“Twenty dollars going towards the health and safety of everyone on campus is worth it,” she said. “Cutting means of students being healthy and safe just seems really contradictory... the point is to have a good education for everyone, that starts with people’s health.”
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