The increase would come from student fees and would combat years of underfunding, representatives say
Wardenburg Health Center is a resource for students who need help. But the tables may have turned – now it’s Wardenburg that may need help from the students.
It’s budget season for the University of Colorado Student Union Finance Board, and Wardenburg is asking for an unprecedented 18.66 percent increase over last year’s $3.4 million budget. The requested increase, which would amount to $645,919 in student fees, is being requested to combat rising state-mandated benefits and years of underfunding, according to the center’s director Gary Chadwick.
If these increases aren’t granted, Wardenburg will be forced to cut multiple staff positions and cut programs. Programs on the chopping block include the STAR alcohol recovery program and the MusculoSkeletal clinic, which offers free physical therapy and sees about 1,150 students a year.
Also in danger are the Community Health Program, famous for handing out condoms and wellness kits around campus, and Wardenburg’s free HIV testing service. The health program will lose half its funding and HIV tests will carry a $10 charge if the increases are denied.
Chadwick, who serves as the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, runs both Wardenburg and the Student Recreation Center following the exit of former Wardenburg Director Bob Cranny last fall. Chadwick said Wardenburg has seen consistent underfunding for the past five years, all while health costs have been on the rise.
“What I hope is that finance board and (legislative) council take a look at the budget and make sure we are being efficient,” Chadwick said. “I hope they will make programs the best that they can be instead of mediocre.”
Both of the other main cost centers are seeking increases as well. The Rec Center is seeking an additional $84,445 of student fees while the the UMC is asking for an additional $332,291.
UCSU Finance Board, which preliminarily denied all increases for all cost centers at the first budget hearing, will revisit all requests at a second and final budget hearing this Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.
Stay tuned to thecampuspress.com for coverage of the second hearing, and for more UCSU budget news.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Vanna Livaditis at Vanna.Livadits@thecampuspress.com.