Guest Commentary: Katehi 2.0? UC Davis’ Student Health Institutes Widespread Cover Up of Stolen Mental Health Fees

By Student Advocates for Mental Health

When UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services stole student fees earmarked for mental health services they lied outright during meetings with students and illicitly funneled new money into pre-existing positions, stopping at nothing to ensure that their misallocation would go unnoticed.

The latest indiscretion in a series of haphazard moves was announcing the intent to terminate Director of Counseling Services Sarah Hahn. This comes right after she filed for Whistleblower Protection on February 8, 2018. The Letter of Intent to Terminate, dated February 9, 2018, states that Executive Director of Student Health, Margaret Walter, had not found Hahn to be “a willing partner in addressing student access.”

Curiously, this intent to terminate was decided upon as student advocacy for increased counselors, a cause which Hahn has long fought for during her time as Director of Counseling Services, began to mobilize.. When an article in The California Aggie revealed that the 12 additional counselors Student Health had promised to hire never appeared, students organized a petition with the following demands:

  • Increased counselors and wages
  • Improved triage (urgent) services at North Hall
  • Creation of a Student Health Advisory Committee
  • Prioritization of underrepresented communities
  • Increased information transparency and resource dissemination
  • Training for professors and TAs
  • Mental health statements on syllabi
  • Funding for student led programming

Hahn’s removal indicates that administration has no plans to go along with student petition demands for increased counselors. If Student Health and Counseling Services intended to hire the counselors they had originally promised, they would not fire the one person who had been advocating for these additions from the beginning.

In an email on February 16, 2017, Hahn wrote to the interim Executive Director of Student Health, Cory Vu, pushing for additional counselors and stating, “ we need to keep UCOP and the Associated
Students informed that we are not growing as we had committed to.” After meetings continued in the interim and Hahn continued to press other administrators about the stagnant growth of counseling— it was suggested that Hahn comply with Student Health administration, expecting her to “stand behind the campus’, division’s, and organization’s  decisions…even if [she] would have chosen a different direction” and “consult with the Executive Director of reports and data prior to sharing.”

This is not only one incident, but indicative of a larger administrative trend to silence students, faculty, and even staff who do not comply with their demands. Although, administration holds concentrated power and suppression tactics, we, the students, hold passion and the power of the masses.

Students are struggling to survive and administration is worried about covering their tracks. They do not realize that advocating for mental health jeopardizes our mental health even more. They are targeting the most vulnerable populations of our community. People who struggle with mental health issues are disproportionately people of color, LGBTQIA+, physically disabled, and of other marginalized identities. We need more counselors and we need them now. We are tired of being denied our fundamental rights to exist in peace. We came here for an education, for liberation, and instead we are bound to administrative coercion and whims.

It is therefore important that many community members attend the upcoming town hall (information below). Administration is continuing to profit over the health and labor of students and faculty and they must be held accountable.

Town Hall: Tuesday February 13th ARC Ballroom at 7pm

Article was submitted anonymously by Student Advocates for Mental Health

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Aaron Latta

    Town hall was held on this issue tonight. University officials refused to apologize for misallocating the money or at least for not letting us know their plans changed. They refused to talk about why they decided to fire the one person who had been advocating for better use of those funds (also was in the process of filing for whistleblower status). Link is below for the video of the meeting:

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