A Joint Resolution on Budget Cuts to Mental Health Services was passed at the University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government senate meeting, stating that USG does not support state budget cuts to mental health services.
Several senators stressed their support of the resolution, emphasizing how important these services are to the students at UConn.
“Mental health services is a very vital service to make sure students are well served… it affects a lot of students at UConn,” Senator Damon Reynolds, who co-sponsored the resolution, said.
Although no comment has been made on how much would be cut from UConn’s mental health services, about $7 million would be cut from the state’s budget for state mental health services, Senator Dennis Mema, who helped write the resolution, said.
Mema said he felt that despite budget cuts in every department of UConn, mental health services play a huge role in many students’ lives through themselves, friends, family members and acquaintances, and should be protected as much as possible.
Chairperson Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru also presented information about an international compliance fee that all international students must pay to be sponsored students at UConn.
Recently, the Graduate Student Senate passed a resolution stating that all international students could waive the fee if they were teaching assistants or graduate assistants, according to Gatheru.
She said that undergraduate students should have greater visibility in the Bursar’s Office and should be given that opportunity as well.
“The decision was made without any undergraduate international students in the room… they were not represented at the time of the vote,” Gatheru said.
The meeting turned to a discussion about the importance of attendance of senators, as many undergraduate students are not regularly being represented due to poor attendance by some senators, the senators said.
Senator Joshua Crow said that because senators are elected by the students, it is not in USG’s power to remove these senators, as that would be removing the voice of many students.
Many senators felt otherwise, feeling something should be done in order to hold the absent senators accountable to the responsibilities they were voted to uphold.
After a lengthy and heated debate, the discussion of attendance and student representation was left open due to time constraints.
Molly Desrochers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.