The Student Health Center closure: A shaky transition

At the Student Health Center patients received the same care as any other doctor’s office for free or low cost.

Weber State University’s student senate meeting on April 10 revolved around the closure of the Student Health Center. This followed the April 3 announcement that the Ogden Clinic location on Harrison Boulevard is set to take on the duties of WSU student healthcare.

Daniel Kilcrease, executive director of Student Auxiliaries, returned to answer any questions and concerns that those attending the meeting had about the changes. Kilcrease said that, until further notice, he would serve as WSU’s liaison to Ogden Clinic, promising he would be available to properly address student concerns about the switch.

“I want to say, I welcomed your questions last week, I welcome your questions this week, and I talked to some of the senators and students after the meeting,” Kilcrease said.

Kilcrease said his door is always open to students who have concerns about student healthcare at Ogden Clinic.

One concern brought up was the loss of pharmaceutical support for WSU students, something that was previously provided by the SHC to a limited extent through its small pharmacy.

“When we entered into the RFP [request for proposal] process back in fall semester, we did not put pharmaceutical services as part of the RFP,” Kilcrease said.

Honors Senator Daniela Salcido Benavides was the first person at the meeting to speak after the room was opened up for questions and comments. Salcido Benavides said she recently had a negative experience at Ogden Clinic. She arrived at Ogden Clinic’s urgent care on April 7 at 4 p.m. and wasn’t seen until over four hours later at 8:30 p.m. Salcido Benavides said she had been told the wait would be 25 minutes.

Salcido Benavides said the staff didn’t appear to be fully aware of how to handle WSU students. After being asked for her ID, Salcido Benavides said she presented her WSU ID and was told by the staff that they also needed to see her driver’s license. This made her wonder how DACA and undocumented students would be treated at Ogden Clinic.

Salcido Benavides characterized her experience with Ogden Clinic as a WSU student as “disappointing,” citing a lack of inclusivity and the impression that staff at Ogden Clinic were not aware of any special accommodations for WSU students. Kilcrease said he would follow up with Ogden Clinic about Salcido Benavides’ concerns.

Kilcrease said the decision for the switch was primarily motivated by the chance to improve student healthcare services, highlighting that Ogden Clinic has longer hours and is open during fall and spring break and between semesters.

Another motivation behind the switch was to save money in order to pay for faculty raises. Kilcrease cited the tuition freeze passed by Gov. Spencer Cox in 2022 and demands from the Utah Legislature to increase faculty pay as the reason why cuts had to be made.

According to the email sent out to all WSU students announcing the change in student health services, the new contract service with Ogden Clinic saves 47% in student fees.

Kilcrease said the cut costs from student fees will go to budget cuts due to decreased enrollment and to pay raises for faculty, and won’t be reflected as a decrease in the amount that WSU students will pay in student fees next year.

Several student senators expressed frustrations over the lack of transparency and student involvement in the switch to Ogden Clinic.