Rowan University students protest the Wellness Center copays

Signs lay on the ground outside of the Student Center Patio in protest of the new proposed copay for the Wellness Center, on Monday April 23, 2018. -File Photo / Jaryd Leady

Headlining Rowan’s Hollybash festival on Friday, April 20, Andy Grammer’s stunning performance took center stage. However, this was not the only appearance that gained the attention of the Rowan community.

Across the street from Hollybash, directly in front of the Wellness Center, protesters took to the sidewalk to express their concerns about the new copay Rowan has presented.

Over four months ago the Rowan community faced a heartbreaking loss when a student committed suicide, just two weeks before Christmas. This prompted the Wellness Center to reach out to students, telling them to seek help there if needed.

This statement, though it may not be accurately defined as a copay, may be required at each visit. Protesters, like Jeraca Marsch, a senior psychology and sociology major, need help from the Wellness Center.

“I have been getting individual and group therapy since I started here at Rowan,” Marsch said. “I’ve been here three years and if I was not getting the help that I got, I would not be standing here because I would have committed suicide.”

For students like Marsch seeking help, it may not be easy to come forward.

Tiers Congdon, a senior writing arts and philosophy major, feels as though this is a breach of privacy if a student is on a family plan with parents.

“If you’re on a family plan then your insurance policy will let your parents know every time you walk through that door for mental health services,” Congdon said.

Marsch expressed his concerns about how students would feel if their parents were notified every time that they needed a private conversation with a therapist.

“College kids need to make sure they’re getting the help that they need,” Marsch said.

In a heated time where students are planning for finals and stress can pile up, Congdon feels as though this is just another obstacle in the way.

“We need less obstacles, we need more people knowing they can get help if they need it and more privacy,” Congdon said.

If all goes as planned and these voices go unheard, the copay will begin this summer on July 1.

As previously reported by The Whit, when SGA first spoke on the issue, Rbrey Singleton, the recently elected President of the SGA, relayed a message to the students about the potential policy change.

This shift in policy is a result of the spike in need for wellness services and the administration feels the best way to expand service is to charge the insurance companies,” Singleton said.

The protesters say they will not stop until they feel as though their actions have made a difference. They have planned peaceful protests throughout the remainder of the semester, all throughout campus.

In a last word from Congdon, he made note of the obstacles and how it does not help those who need it.

If you need help, it’s okay to need help,” Congdon said. “It’s not okay to have another obstacle in the way between you and getting help.” 

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  1. […] The major action of business came in the open speaker session, when Rowan students Jeraca Marsh and Lauren Bitzer testified before the board of trustees about their ongoing concerns with the new plan to charge copay at the Wellness Center. Bitzer is the outgoing president of the Rowan University Student Government Association (SGA), while Marsh has been active in the conversation around the new plan. […]