Health Center Fails Students

Illustration by Dennis Guirola

Santa Ana College’s decision to drastically reduce available nurse hours at the Health and Wellness Center is a clear disregard for the well-being of the SAC student body.

Students who require nurse-specific medical assistance, such as immunizations or blood pressure checks, are now turned away Tuesdays and Fridays. On the other days of the week, students can expect long waits and limited medical staff.

While our district spends millions funding delayed construction projects and failed overseas ventures, our students suffer the indignity of policies that ignore student needs where oftentimes the only medical attention they might receive is through the Health and Wellness Center.

To you Chancellor Raul Rodriguez, who receives $2,500 a month since your move from Northern California in 2010, SAC President Linda Rose and trustees who oversee all district functions — is saving money a greater priority than essential medical care for students? We don’t think so, but hey, we are only students, and clearly there must be other reasons to have a college.

While our students continue to pay a mandatory $19 health fee each semester to help fund the health center’s budget, Santiago Canyon College students pay the same fee and enjoy more nurse hours. On any given week at SCC, a nurse is available Monday through Wednesday for seven hours. At Santa Ana College, a nurse is here Monday and Wednesday for four hours —nearly three times less than our sister school which is half our size.

Our college clearly has lost its focus. Students should not struggle to afford more health center hours with nearly double the number of enrolled students, when SCC relishes in flexible operation hours and easier accessibility to health options. If SCC receives 21 available hours three days out of the week, SAC should enjoy those same benefits. If not, can our district say it values all its students equally?

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The health center extends beyond an on-campus resource to receive free supplies and brochures filled with information. For many students, the center offers medical services they may be unable to afford on their own, such as emergency visits, outside referrals and routine check-ups. What we ask for is fairness from the district and the college, or else, we are left to consider why we are undervalued and deemed unworthy. Is that the message you want to send to your students, because your actions speak volumes.