What’s Your Beef? 2-28-11

“There has been an unacceptable and possibly dangerous change in the student verification for health insurance policy.  In previous semesters I have been able to get a student verification for health insurance form, to continue my coverage through my father’s health insurance (Rocky Mountain UFCW), filled out in a matter of minutes with a quick look up of my CWID and a stamp.  A change this semester required it to be mailed out and filled out by a national service and then mailed back so that I could pick it up.  Three weeks later it has not returned and my bills for glasses and medical expenses are piling up.  Any policy change that could negatively impact the continuity of health insurance for students is highly inappropriate and possibly dangerous.  I know that I will not be able to be helped, but for future students this policy change must be dealt with aggressively and quickly.”

Lara Medley responded:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this comment. As you know, where we have opportunities for cost savings for the School, we must use them. The Registrar’s Office no longer has a full-time person available at the front desk in order to achieve salary savings for the School. I am sure that our customers have noticed that we have very good students working our front desk when their class schedules allow.

Enrollment verifications – the topic brought up by the student in question – is one of those processes that I can outsource for no cost to CSM. Enrollment verifications are available immediately online through Trailhead and can be printed and attached to any insurance or loan form. If the actual form must be completed, those are sent to the National Student Clearinghouse for processing and mailing to the insurance company or loan company directly. The confusion in this case may have been that the form was expected to be sent back to CSM for student pickup. I believe the correct procedure is that it was sent directly to the insurance company. I will make sure that my student employees are aware of the process so that misinformation is not conveyed.

I am glad that this student has experienced excellent, immediate service for his forms in the past. In this particular student’s case, once I was aware of the immediacy, I made sure that my staff filled his form out within 5 minutes of his arrival at our office.

” The disc gold course is missing a couple of pins (the baskets, or holes). This is a great recreational activity on campus and is frequently utilized by students.”

Rebecca Flintoft responded:
The disc golf course had been vandalized seriously during 2010 and previously, resulting in the missing holes/pins noted in the question. The course was removed by CSM completely before winter break. The rationale for removing the course includes the following:

  1. Safety. Mines Park is a residential area, not recreational. The risk of residents being hit by the discs (which are much heavier than traditional Frisbees) is a significant reason to remove the course. Kathy Rice has received numerous complaints about the risk of residents and their children being hit by discs. In August 2009, Public Safety received a complaint that a female resident was hit in the head by a disc while walking from her car back to her apartment.
  2. Maintenance. Since its inception, approximately 15 windows at Mines Park have been broken, according to Facilities Management. Replacing those windows is expensive, especially considering the negative impact on the residents whose homes were disturbed as a result.
  3. Vandalism. The course is a frequent target of vandalism, which requires significant labor and cost to repair. In August 2010, three baskets were stolen and the main course sign was badly vandalized.
  4. Financial. The estimated cost to move the holes to more appropriate areas, as well as to repair the recent vandalism and any future damages, is prohibitive.
  5. Negative impact to the residential community. In addition to the safety, maintenance, and vandalism mentioned above, which have a negative impact on the quality of life at Mines Park, there are other factors that make the course inappropriate for Mines Park. Most of the users of the course are not affiliated with CSM, and they often create a lot of noise, leave trash behind, drink alcohol on the course, and bring their dogs along, which is both prohibited by campus policy and leaves a mess for the residents and the grounds crew to deal with.

Student Life and Facilities Management are considering other opportunities for outdoor recreation at Mines Park, which are both more cost-effective and more conducive to a residential area. Currently, we are considering installing a sand volleyball court.

” You are over watering the grass here on campus and at Mines park. This is a waste of money which is increasing student tuition. The grounds are super saturated with water and it is like a marsh. The grounds are watered when it rains. I fell and suffered injuries because of this.”

Jerry Solt responded:
With the variety of different soil profiles, we have on campus: clay, clay loam, silt, loam etc., managing irrigation water usage can be a very challenging problem.  At times, some areas can be over watered due to soil conditions, poor coverage, especially at Mines Park, and sprinkler systems that tend to become more inefficient as they age.

We currently have 40 separate irrigation systems and one irrigation tech to administer all decisions and repairs to all irrigation systems.  When rain is expected we make every effort reduce irrigation water accordingly, but sometimes the forecasts and our efforts don’t coincide and some areas can receive extra water.

We are researching “smart controllers” which are EvapoTranspiration  ET based to be installed over this coming summer.  This new system will only apply as much water as the plant and soil require for that day.  If we are able to apply this technology to our irrigation systems, we hope to be able to reduce water consumption and increase the overall efficiency of our sprinkler systems.  However, with our challenging soil conditions, even with our best efforts, sometimes some turf areas can become saturated while others nearby will be too dry.

For the many visitors and organizations coming to visit campus, as well as the students, faculty and staff of Mines, we do our best to ensure the grounds  are kept clean, green and aesthetically pleasing for the entire campus community.

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