SGA supports Counseling Center staffing proposal

SGA voted in favor of formally supporting the Counseling Center’s proposal to increase staffing during its meeting April 28. 

The proposal is in favor of an “optimal staffing scenario” to help the Counseling Center, which is currently “overwhelmed,” according to President Matty Bennet. 

He said the proposal will be brought to the Board of Trustees for a vote during its May meeting.

Bennet explained this concern has been a frequent issue discussed during earlier meetings such as Administrators’ Forums and Board of Trustees. 

The proposal would allow for the hiring of one full-time, 11-month clinician, one full-time, 12-month clinician, the increasing of a nine-and-a-half month clinician to 11 months, increasing contractor pay from $35 an hour to $45, and for capital improvements to the Counseling Center to allow for additional office space, according to SGA’s resolution. 

Bennet said, “I think what’s really going to help motivate trustee members to vote for any kind of increase in funding is personal testimony.”

Members of SGA were asked by Bennet and Olivia Beverlie, student trustee, to send in statements of support either from themselves or by friends. 

He explained the statements can be presented at the Board of Trustees meeting by Beverlie and will bring in the “student perspective.” 

Before the vote, Bennet went over a presentation created by Lorretta Holloway, vice president for enrollment and student development, for the last Board of Trustees meeting. 

The presentation showed the breakdowns of usage of the center through the years, of the demographics, of the cost, and the benefits of each part of the proposal. 

The Counseling Center had a “42% increase in distinct students” using its services compared to 2018, and just this past year a “13% increase in distinct students” using its services compared to 2019, according to the presentation.

The breakdown of demographics for the 2018-19 end-of-year report show the center being used by 347 resident students, 163 commuter students, 171 students of color, 61 Hispanic/Latinx, 359 females, 139 males, and 12 transgender/non-binary. 

Bennet explained crisis sessions are “what’s really overwhelming the center” because they are “when students are in crisis, and it’s kind of a last minute.”

The presentation shows a total of 123 crisis sessions during the 2018-19 academic year. 

Following the completion of the presentation, a vote was taken and all SGA members in attendance voted in favor of the resolution.

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