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SGA discusses fee increases

Emily Smith
Senator at-Large Patrick Quinlan speaks before being elected Speaker of the Senate for the 2017-2018 school year at the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Tuesday night

Kirsten Edmunds

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The student health insurance fee will be increased by 15 percent next year due to changing the insurer.

Student Member to the Board of Trustees Wil Gradle said during the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting yesterday that he wanted students to understand why the increase is happening and that students should start planning ahead of time if they plan on using the school’s insurance.

“Every year, we have to go out to bid and try and get health insurance policies from insurers,” Gradle said. “I believe we received four bids and we went with the 15.6 percent increase. It’s important for students to understand kind of why that is. First, 8 percent of that is just due to national pricing pressures; health premiums across the country are increasing so our insurance follows that.”

Gradle said the terms of the insurance and the copays are staying exactly the same as before.

“I think what is most important is the insurance company, which is United Health Care, is one of the, if not the, largest health insurers in the country,” Gradle said. “Students who have the student health insurance plan for next year will have an access to 15 percent more doctors than they would with our previous plan.”

Gradle also brought up another concern that has been addressed to him: a quiet place for students to pray. The bill stated that few on-campus options currently exist for students who would like to consistently meditate or pray, resulting in students having to build their schedules around their ability to travel to and from their residences.

“What we are trying to do is cut down on that travel time that way it’s a little less restricting for students,” Gradle said. “It’s been shown that folks that meditate and prayer or whatever you feel is more perfect for you is also a great way to relieve stress and it helps with mental health.”

Gradle said he is still working with various locations on campus to find a space to use but was told that the library would be an ideal place.

SGA President Dovile Svirupskaite proposed a bill giving the vice president more responsibities such as: serve as the government liaison for SGA, serve as the student liaison for the Macomb City Council meetings, in conjunction with the Director of Student Services, coordinate the annual Student Lobby in Springfield and coordinate regular meetings with the Mayor of Macomb.

“Currently, the Chief of Staff serves as the government liaison, but I definitely think the role of the Chief of Staff is very full so I thought this was kind of a good way to have more responsibilities for the vice president,” Svirupskaite said. “Especially being the government liaison this is someone who is going to be on the forefront of any government interaction we have and I think that is very important, especially with the current budget impasse but also for the future as well.”

Svirupskaite said her big push this year was to build bridges between the student government and the city of Macomb and she hopes that will continue on in the coming years.

One current Senator at- Large, Patrick Quinlan, was voted by the legislative body to be next year’s Speaker of Senate.

For the opening positions of President, Vice President, Student Member to the Board of Trustees and Senator at-Large, voting is open until Friday April 14 at 4 p.m. The results will be revealed that night at 5 p.m. in the Sandburg Lounge. It is open to the public.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
SGA discusses fee increases