Word has trickled down from the powers that be that the March center will be closed at the end of June, unless an outside group is found to outsource operations. There are legal issues with the bonds that were taken out to finance the building that significantly limit the options the university can explore. Despite the investment of over a million dollars from OHSU students, no student input is being taken on this next set of decisions.
At this point, the student council has opted not to wait out this process, and instead is approaching the incidental fee process with the intention of eliminating the March component of the fee, thus ending the shaky relationship between the students and the March Wellness Center. If the facility remains open, we would explore whether a student rate can be set, but at this point, it seems inappropriate to consider extending the commitment that was in place this year, where all students contributed to the March through the incidental fee.
For PhD students, this means you will not be charged the $168/term fee of which the graduate council voted to suspend payment. (The $1000 raise should stay in place). However, you will no longer have access to the March center.
In order to maintain fitness options for students, we are exploring the possibility of converting a portion of the old gym/pending student union back into a limited fitness facility. Although there is hope that some equipment can be re-appropriated from March, there will likely be a capital investment necessary to make the necessary improvements. The incidental fee and student union task forces are currently crunching numbers to determine the real expenses (both permanent costs and one-time costs). Expect surveys to be emailed soon, and these matters will be discussed at the GSO meetings, and upcoming incidental fee town halls.
At this point I have not discussed this with the graduate council, and do not know how they will approach this matter in terms of breaking down PI/Student payment given a scenario where the incidental fee is raised (from 150/term) to pay for this conversion.
More as it happens.