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MARK LEFFINGWELL
24cdwwar~1.jpg 1014FLU2.JPG Rob Baker (cq)(left), graduate student in ecology and evolution biology, smiles as Lacy Malouff, medical assistant student at Westwood College, gives him a flu vaccination at Wardenburg Student Heath Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado October 14, 2009. CAMERA/Mark Leffingwell

The University of Colorado Student Government will ask students to pass a constitutional amendment this spring to shift decisions about Wardenburg Health Center from CUSG to a new committee of student leaders and campus administrators.

Don Misch, director of Wardenburg Health Center, said with recent health care changes, he decided to look into how the student-run health programs were running. After some research, Misch said officials are recommending that CUSG act as an advisor to the student-funded center, rather than the decision makers — a structure he said is consistent with other universities and the country’s health industry.

Misch said the change would likely include the creation of a new committee or board that would become a middleman between CUSG’s suggestions and approval from Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano.

“What we’re talking about is a change in structure that will continue to have a very strong student involvement,” Misch said. “We want their voice. Nothing about what we’re doing is designed to reduce their voice, it will just report in a different way.”

Currently, CUSG’s decisions regarding Wardenburg’s budget and programming have to be approved by Chancellor DiStefano and then the Board of Regents. The new structure would provide the committee with advice from CUSG, which would still require approval by the chancellor and Regents.

Deb Coffin, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the changes are being discussed as a way to “improve delivery of student health care, health plans and services through more of a collaborative model.”

Coffin said no other school in the Pac-12, Pac-10 or Big 12 has the same structure as CU when it comes to health care, “where it is exclusively students and students only who make the decisions.”

Misch said he is unaware of any increased costs associated with the restructuring.

“At least in the front of this, we see no change in student fees and no changes to services,” Misch said. “There will be no change in what the average student will see when they come in for treatment.”

While there is no immediate cost associated with the changes, future funding needs could lead to an increase in student fees if Wardenburg remains a fee-funded facility — which CUSG executives and Misch said will be the case for at least one more year.

CUSG president Andrew Yoder said CU’s legal team advised the administration to cooperate with Wardenburg’s request for a new committee.

Yoder said rather than making decisions, the student administration would “act in an advisory capacity rather than the final say.”

CUSG members have proposed a bill that would include a referendum on the spring ballot to put the changes in motion, Coffin said. The bill will go to second reading Thursday during the Legislative Council meeting at 7 p.m. in the University Memorial Center.

Because the changes are being made to a student-run, fee-funded facility, a constitutional amendment must be made allowing CUSG to relinquish its decisions to the new committee.

The amendment must be approved by a vote of the student body, with at least 25 percent of students voting — about 7,500 students. Last spring was the only election in CU history that attracted more than 7,500 voters.

Spring elections will be held from April 9 through 13, leaving only two weeks after spring break for administrators and student leaders to educate voters about the changes.

Misch said he does not know what will happen if the amendment does not pass.

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