In Spring of my sophomore year, I was overwhelmed.
Between my class load, serving as Access Party's Student Senate Minority Leader, being on my fraternity’s executive board and other obligations, it was too much.
So equipped with knowledge of campus resources from my over-involvement, I reached out to the Counseling & Wellness Center.
I was told I couldn't be seen for a month.
I was devastated. It’s one thing to know the statistics — to know the wait times are bad — it’s another for someone to say they can’t help you.
Since then, funding for the CWC and mental health holds a special place in my heart. That's why it's disheartening to see the current controversy surrounding CWC funding.
Condemning the student members of the local fee committee may feel better, but it does very little to solve any problems. Missing from the shouting and the condemnation are facts.
The local fee committee has no power on its own to raise fees. All it does is provide recommendations to the UF Board of Trustees who, in turn, submit requests to the State University System's Board of Governors, which makes final decisions. Gov. Rick Scott appointed 14 of 17 board members, who very clearly support his desire to freeze all student fee increases in Florida. So the Student Government officials on the local fee committee made the tough decision to not increase the health fee, because the request would be denied once it reached the state level. Also, the committee's decision doesn't affect the hiring of 12 new mental health counselors over three years, as UF's provost will supply funding until a permanent source is secured.
I'm angry there isn’t more funding for the CWC, but instead of pointlessly directing my anger at students on the local fee committee, I’m angry with UF administration for allowing this.
Why are basic student services not funded by the thousands of dollars I pay to UF each year? Why has UF allowed for this by letting the CWC to remain insufficiently funded?
I encourage all students in SG, from both parties, to work together to secure permanent funding from UF to increase the CWC's staff.
Preston Jones is a UF political science senior.