Metro students once again have access to the services of the Phoenix Center, after the Board of Trustees voted to reinstate funding.
Students voted 991-640 on the 2011-2012 SGA referendum for a $2 fee per semester to help finance the Phoenix Center. Still, the board proposed removing the fee from the budget, a move that would have prevented Metro students access to the center.
According to Dean of Students Emilia Paul, the administration rejected the vote because it had not gone through the proper channels before making it onto the ballot. Internal policy, she said, was based on the state policy concerning student fees.
“The work was not up front,” Paul said. “There was no collaboration process.”
After hearing statements from students who have used the center, the board agreed June 7 to allow the $2 fee for the next two semesters. They will review the issue again at a later date, and have asked for more information regarding the difference in services between the Phoenix Center and the Health Center at Auraria.
Paul, who sits on the Phoenix Center’s board, said that the center’s original $500,000 grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and backed by both Metro and UCD. As part of that grant agreement, neither college had monetary obligations, but they did make commitments of time and support staff.
The grant was to be renewed in October 2011, but the federal government opted out.
“I’m not sure why the grant was not renewed,” Paul said. “Other similar centers had their grants renewed, but the Phoenix Center was denied.”
The fee will provide roughly $96,000 to the Phoenix Center over the next year. Paul said she finds this funding excessive, as 85 students used the center in 2011.
“It’s a lot of money for services that you’re already paying student fees to receive in the [Health Center’s] counseling office,” she said.
“This was the administration’s decision,” SGA President Laura Noe said. “The students clearly want access.”
Noe said that the SGA will continue to promote the Phoenix Center to the board to prevent Metro students from losing the services that the Phoenix Center offers.
“This is an expensive campus,” Paul said. “President Jordan is trying to keep fees down, understanding that tuition is going to go up.”
A Metro junior, who wished to remain anonymous due to the nature of the Phoenix Center’s services, disagrees that the Health Center is a substitute for the services available at the Phoenix Center.
“[The Health Center has] all kinds of people with all kinds of problems. The Phoenix Center specializes in people like me,” they said.
As someone who utilized the center’s services, she said she did not hesitate to vote for the fee and is glad the Phoenix Center will again be available.