The Rice Thresher
by David Berry
The Student Association Senate is drafting a resolution asking the university to fund students taking the basic Emergency Medical Technician class, Health Sciences 308.
REMS first raised the fee funding issue at the Sept. 9 SA meeting.
HEAL 308, taken by about 20 students each spring, provides the certification necessary for students to volunteer with Rice Emergency Medical Services. The course currently costs each student $400 in addition to regular Rice tuition.
REMS Captain Dave Melville said the cost of taking the course prohibits some students from taking the class and later from volunteering with REMS.
"I think interested students are unable to participate because it is so expensive, and that is very unfortunate," Melville, a Martel College senior, said.
Haynie, a Will Rice College senior, and Melville met prior to the SA meeting to discuss a potential resolution. Haynie then wrote a draft, which was distributed at the SA meeting.
The draft asks that the university "provide full financial support for students wishing to enroll in HEAL 308 in order to serve the Rice community through participation in REMS."
"We wanted to leave our recommendation unspecific so that we can talk to [the] administration about it," Melville said.
Melville said there are at least two options that would remove the financial burden from students taking the course: The $400 fee could be covered by the university, or it could be reimbursed with volunteer service.
"I am also open to other ideas," Melville said.
Haynie asked the senate and the college presidents to get student feedback on this issue, and he is currently making revisions to his resolution via e-mail. The resolution will likely be debated by e-mail, Haynie said, and he is tentatively planning a meeting for SA senators and college presidents sometime next week in order to finalize the resolution.
The resolution will be taken up again by the SA Oct. 7. Haynie said he expects the resolution will come to a vote then, and he thinks the resolution will likely pass by a large majority.
"I have found few people opposed to it," Haynie said.
If the resolution is passed, it will be presented to Vice President for Student Affairs Zenaido Camacho and President Malcolm Gillis, Haynie said.
Although the SA has no explicit power concerning university budgets, Melville said he hoped a resolution might prompt the administration to rethink their past decision to turn down requests for more funding for HEAL 308.
"I hope we can get the financial burden lessened by the time the course is taught next spring," Melville said.
"I think if we make this issue a priority and make it clear that there is a strong student opinion, there is at least a good chance that we can change things," Haynie said.