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Updated on Monday, April 6

#20801

OMG: It is so frustrating that all Waterloo does is raise awareness about mental health. We get it, that is important, but please provide us with adequate counselling services to help deal with these issues. Waterloo has tons of money... instead of spending it on having more counsellors, they're too busy charging students to build a new engineering building.

26 comments

  1. I agree. Should we start a petition and take it to Feridun or something?

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  2. That's not...that's not how budgeting works. I just don't understand what it is you're talking about.

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  3. It's been a problem for quite some time now, several years actually, some of us are working on it outside of the university spectrum for all university students. It just takes a lot of fucking time and effort to get anywhere.

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    1. Why should it be outside the university spectrum? What do you mean? We give up on the getting value for the fees we pay towards Counselling Services?

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  4. It's not a matter of getting more counsellors. With the same counterproductive management all that'll get accomplished is a larger more expensive cluster-fuck.

    An "outside of the university solution spectrum" is dangerous. Dabbling in-between classes in fellow students' serious crises we're not appropriately trained for is a train wreck waiting to happen. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

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  5. Hate to break it to you OP, but Waterloo can't actually spend our tuition money however they want.

    Specifically, they can't spend it on counsellors. Completely out-of-the question. Literally against the law.

    The funds for counsellors comes from our student services fee (I can't remember the exact number, but I think it's about $110/student?). This fee is basically responsible for paying for everything on-campus that ISN'T academic. Which means that, on top of the resources and salaries for all of counselling services, it's also trying to fund:
    -Athletics (BIG money drain; not just organized sports, but also everything Campus Rec in PAC and CIF);
    -Food Services (miraculously, they don't turn a profit from their food sales);
    -The Student Success Office (don't even get me started...);
    ...and a couple other things I can't remember, I think.

    Academic buildings get huge funding grants from the provincial governments, which covers the bulk of the costs of construction with donations covering most of the rest. The new engineering building isn't really considered an academic building, which is why they asked (and they did ASK; they had to) Eng students to pay a new fee to cover its construction. BUT that isn't the University - that's all the Faculty of Engineering. All the University did was approve the building's construction and location.

    Your tuition dollars (the vast majority of the University's revenue) mostly drain away paying faculty members - something like 85% of it goes straight to their salary (again, if I remember correctly). 5% goes to SAFA to hand out as financial aid awards and bursaries, and most of the rest goes to the individual Faculties, but they're still limited to spending it on academic matters (class supplies/teaching materials, labs, etc.).

    I agree that the counselling services available need to be improved. But... yeah, money's tight.

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    1. 5, I call bullshit. OP never mentioned tuition, but that's what you go on about excessively. Lots of wordy, off-target excuses. And give relevant dollar amounts rather than vague percentages.

      I agree with 4, the first problem's mismanagement.

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    2. Except that OP did complain about money being used for a building instead of counsellors. Buildings come from tuition. If you want an idea of how Canadian universities are spending their money, HESA did a good blog post today about compensation as percentage of operating budget (including tuition and government grants): http://higheredstrategy.com/not-mutually-exclusive/ It shows that about 75% of operating budget is going into compensation. Not quite 85% and not all to faculty, but it should give you a better sense.

      You can check out the Waterloo budget here which seems to follow the same trends: https://uwaterloo.ca/secretariat-general-counsel/sites/ca.secretariat-general-counsel/files/uploads/files/20140401oagbog.pdf About $613000 came in and about $434000 was spent on salaries and benefits, which is about 70% of the entire budget.

      So 5 is a little off, but their point remains. The university doesn't actually have much money that isn't earmarked.

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    3. Hey 5a, 5 here. Sorry you didn't like the budget breakdown I gave you, but it's all I really have access to. I'm not a university admin, so all I can see is the budget they share with the Senate/Board of Governors, which doesn't break things down by department even a little bit. That all happens at the Associate Provost level. You want exact numbers, e-mail Chris Read.

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    4. 5 again. Just read 5b's post. Ignore everything I said - 5b wins here. :)

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    5. 5b's diversion #2. If tuition's not allowed to fund counseling then all your stats on it are beside the point. Waterloo's not a typical Canadian university. And your dollars look off by a factor of a thousand. $434000 would pay <1 senior administrator's salary and benefits. Fuck you UW PR and give us the counseling services we're paying for.

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    6. 7b, let's see what's in UW's Finance report you gave that's closest to a Counselling Services budget disclosure.

      page 12: recommended compulsory student services fee increase of 5.5% ($134/$127) for full-time undergrads and 9.2% (wtf?) (118/108) for full-time grads, when Ontario's public sector consumer price index rose by only 1.5% (125.1/123.2 March 2014/March 2013).

      page 13: Student services fee aggregate increase of $617,000 from $8.211m in 2013/14 to $8.828m in 2014/15. That's +7.5%, or fully 5 times the inflation rate.

      The report was released April Fools Day 2014. How fitting.

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    7. This is sickening.

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    8. 5c, no. Chris Read can bloody well post exact counseling services numbers here.

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    9. I want to know how many dollars are wasted and how much more counselling we could get for the same price in a "no management clusterfuck" scenario, to use ^4's term.

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    10. While waiting for Chris Read to give the Counselling Services budget, is the 2015 UW finance report available?

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    11. 5j, probably not until the 2015 fiscal year ends, i.e. next year.

      But the preliminary budget should become available on the secretariat website as part of the Senate Agenda where it gets approved (and then the subsequent Board of Governors Meeting); you can probably find it there.

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  6. If a lot of you made a suicide pact and went through with it, you'd get attention and the counseling you need!

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    1. Looks like we hit a nerve. Is this how counselling services bosses act towards complaining staff, except with words passed through UW's legal department.

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    2. @7 you're a horrendous person for even saying that

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    3. 7, would that outcome be preferable to you? You're in effect saying keeping the status quo at counselling services is worth more than the lives of those who complain about it.

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    4. As 7 shows, there's a lot of anger against people who question why things stay so broken at counseling services.

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    5. 7d, do you think the anger's from people in charge over Counselling Services, or from staff following their lead?

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  7. Similar Counselling Services issues are in omg's 20813, 20801, 20791, 20768, 20780.

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