EDITORIAL – Essential Services: Counseling and Testing Center affected by budget reduction plan

The issue: Last week President Gary Ransdell announced the budget reduction plan for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which reduced and eliminated multiple programs including the predoctoral intern program in the Counseling and Testing Center. 

Our stance: President Ransdell said the university tried to maintain programs and services that are essential to students, student productivity and degree completion. We feel the interns in the center are absolutely essential to our campus and to students.


For the 2016-17 fiscal year, WKU has reduced its budget by $6,039,200, according to the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget. 

In the budget reduction plan multiple programs were reorganized, reduced and eliminated including the consolidation of the Alive Center and the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, reducing budgets for Gatton Academy and the track and field teams and eliminating the pre-doctoral intern program in the Counseling and Testing Center. 

All of these programs are important to the university, and the reductions will have a negative effect, but the center is an essential and important part of the university that provides services to students, faculty and staff. 

Eliminating the predoctoral internship program in the center eliminates jobs. There are currently two doctoral interns working at the center, according to the staff directory. These two interns will no longer have a job, and their internship will stop, which they need to finish their degree so they will have to look for another. 

It won’t just affect the interns, though. They do a lot of work within the center, including actual counseling. When the interns leave, their patients will have to switch therapists, which means they have to start completely over with the whole process. That takes time away from the actual therapy process. 

The center doesn’t only provide counseling. It also provides clinical testing, sexual assault response and community outreach. The work it does reaches a lot of people. 

At last week’s forum, Brian Lee of the Counseling and Testing Center said each member of staff is responsible for 3,333 students. It doesn’t make sense that the center isn’t considered essential to student productivity or degree completion. 

Mental health issues affect campuses nationwide, and WKU has faced these effects in the past year.  

College is an extremely stressful time in a person’s life. There are a lot of expectations that students have to live up to. Many students are taking classes full time as well as working. The services provided by the center are capable of helping students tremendously. 

The American College Health Association found in its 2014 National College Health Assessment that 32.6 percent of college students “felt so depressed that it was difficult to function” any time within the last 12 months, but only 12 percent were actually diagnosed or treated by a professional. 

The center is an essential service on campus. Yes, everyone is going to be affected by these budget cuts, and they couldn’t be avoided, but it seems like the welfare of the students isn’t being thoroughly considered. Despite essential student services being cut, the administration and Ransdell himself have no interest in showing equitable solidarity by taking a cut as well even if it will help the university — albeit in a smaller way.


Ed. Note: Due to a Herald error, pre-doctoral internship was incorrectly referred to as being eliminated immediately, and that the interns “will no longer have a job, and their internship will stop, which they need to finish their degree so they will have to look for another.” The pre-doctoral interns will be able to finish their internship. Also, the amount of students that each member of staff will be responsible for is not 3,333. The Herald regrets the error.