GSS discusses transportation, counseling

Jason Henry and Jason Henry

On Friday, Graduate Student Senate, along with guest speaker Director of Public Safety James Wiegand discussed the possibility of a new transportation fee.

The plan, if implemented, would allow the University to charge a $20 student fee every semester to fund shuttles and improve parking lots, Wiegand said.

‘We are trying to establish a separate fund for the shuttle so that we could buy new buses, and we could improve our parking lots at the same time,’ Wiegand said.

The fee would allow the University to maintain its current routes, to expand the downtown route, and to repair parking lots.

‘We would be able to go into our present parking lots, do the repairs and maintenance, and have the sufficient funding to upkeep them,’ Wiegand said. The plan would allow Public Safety to establish a three- to five-year maintenance plan.

One possible expansion to the routes was a late night route that would go downtown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 3 a.m.

He asked the GSS to consider supporting this initiative.

Wiegand also said next year faculty and staff will be required to pay for their parking.

Following Wiegand’s speech, the GSS discussed the proposed fee. One concern was that the shuttle improvements would not affect graduate students, as the shuttles are primarily used by undergraduates.

GSS President Carl Walling said the GSS would investigate the matter more and draft legislation for a vote.

Another speaker at the meeting was Dr. Craig Vickio from the Counseling Center. Vickio explained the most common mental health issues affecting students, which, in order, were: depression, relationship issues, and stress/anxiety.

The Counseling Center, according to Vickio, is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Mondays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday. It has walk-in hours from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. The service is available to all students.

‘Our services are free and highly confidential,’ Vickio said. ‘If you are enrolled in a single credit hour, you are eligible.’

The GSS also discussed the international health care. Yury Shtrarkman, senator for the biology department, asked members of GSS to send out surveys to international students in their departments to find more information.

This information would be used by Paul Hofman, director of the Center for International Programs, to see how University health care is being used by international students, Shtrarkman said.

The GSS also approved its annual budget for a total amount of $49,512.