SA Senate calls on officials to improve transparency, quality in CHC

Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Sen. Shaheera Jalil Albasit, CCAS-G, said she sponsored the resolution to increase transparency of recent changes to student health services.

The Student Association Senate unanimously passed a resolution Monday calling on the University to improve transparency and increase financial assistance for students at the Colonial Health Center.

The resolution asks officials to offer members of the Student Health Advisory Council, a group of students who voice concerns about the University’s health services, to have more of an influence in changes made to CHC. The legislation also demands that a licensed medical professional lead the center.

Danielle Lico, the associate dean of students for student administrative services, is currently serving as interim leader of the center. She stepped into the role in the fall when Glenn Egelman, the center’s first director and a medical doctor, suddenly resigned after only six months on the job. Egelman later sent a letter to top officials in January alleging the center made “minimal” efforts to provide high-quality health care to students.

The University announced an overhaul of student health services last week, which will be implemented next academic year. The changes include an increase to the number of free mental health sessions available to students and a student health insurance mandate that requires students to sign onto the University’s health care plan or prove that they have qualifying insurance to exempt themselves.

Sen. Shaheera Jalil Albasit, CCAS-G, said she sponsored the resolution because the University should be more transparent about logistical aspects of the new changes, like how students will be able to opt out of health insurance if they aren’t already insured.

“We are not going overboard in our asks for them to be more transparent with these procedures,” Albasit said.

The senate also passed a bill to form a diversity and inclusion assembly within the SA. The group will be comprised of at least one senator from each SA committee and at least five student leaders from multicultural student organizations.

Sen. Imani Ross, U-at-Large, said she sponsored the inclusion bill because she wants to set a foundation for multicultural student organization leaders to advocate for issues with senators and incentivize them to run for other leadership positions outside of their respective organizations.

“Something that was really important to me was creating and implementing a strategic plan to increase multicultural student representation and outreach in the SA, including student body elections,” Ross said.

The senate passed a bill to amend bylaws that will approve the position for a vice president for sustainability. Students voted in favor of a referendum last week to move the sustainability position from a directorship to a vice president role.

The senate voted in this meeting to remove Sen. Brady Forrest, G-at-Large, from his post as senate pro-tempore and initiated censure proceedings against him after Forrest was accused of anti-Semitism while running for executive vice president.

Three senators also announced their resignations at the meeting. Sen. Devan Cole, CCAS-U, and chairman of the finance committee, resigned Monday, and Ross, who also serves as chairwoman of the student life committee, said she will resign Tuesday but didn’t say the reason. During the meeting, Cole said he decided to step down to pursue other areas ahead of his graduation in May.

Sen. Jacob Wright, CCAS-U, who had been suspended from the senate, also resigned Monday.

The senate unanimously passed a resolution thanking Cole for his contributions to the finance committee throughout his tenure. Sen. Will Raderman, U-at-Large, introduced the resolution as the “This is Devan Cole Signing Off” act, saying Cole served as a mentor to the members of the finance committee.

“Sen. Devan Cole has been a dedicated, honorable and a fantastic committee chairperson last year and for the finance committee this year,” Raderman said.

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