Berkeley Students Agree on Tuition Increase Aimed at Improving Mental Health
In order to improve mental health services, students of the University of California – Berkeley have voted in a referendum for an increase in tuition fees. Their goal is to support stress management efforts and provide better support for the victims of sexual assault on campus. If the final approval comes through, students will be paying a USD 146 wellness fee as of fall 2015 semester. They are already paying USD 93.50 to fund recreational sports but that cost will be replaced by this pending fee.
The referendum took place between April 7 and April 9. As many as 7,308 students voted in favor of the fee, while 2,950 were against it. "UC Berkeley, like many other UCs, has a tight budget, and as such, we are unable to adequately support students in their physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being," said student senator Madison Gordon, the primary sponsor of the referendum in the Associated Students of University of California.
If the new fee is agreed upon, it will be used to finance extended hours for counseling services on campus on weekends and evenings. It will also fund classes teaching about nutrition and stress management. Fitness services will be extended and spaces will be secured for yoga classes and meditation. The final goal of the campaigners is to have nap rooms installed on campus.
The overwhelming support of additional fees is a surprise on a University that has been known for staging big protests against tuition hikes in the past.
Photo Attribution: Ken Wieland