Last Thursday, a cough forced me out of bed earlier than usual. After making my way to campus for class, whatever ailment I was dealing with decided to demand attention. Within an hour, I walked out of the V.B. Harrison Health Center on campus with a filled prescription and strolled over to my first class of the day.
Later that same day, a former faculty member informed me of the potential discussions regarding the Health Center’s proposed relocation to the old Baptist Memorial Hospital’s North Mississippi facility.
Without an on-campus health center, my Thursday would have played out much differently. If the health center’s proposed relocation goes through, everyone on this campus will have a much harder time getting treated than they do now.
The need for on-campus access to health professionals extends far beyond sore throats, too. Not everyone visiting the health center suffers from a contagious illness. For instance, people frequently fill prescriptions, address wounds and more at the health center.
Our health center’s current location, at the corner of Rebel and Student Union Drives, neighbors more residential halls than nearly any other building on campus, which makes treating freshman — a high-risk group because of their shared living arrangements and new environments — simple and convenient.
Students without vehicles, as well as all of our hardworking faculty and staff, do not have to plan around taking off work and catching a shuttle to get treatment. Simply having a shuttle for sick and injured people seems like an easy way to accelerate the spread of disease. Confining them all together is antithetical to the health center’s purpose.
Though the campus is growing and Health Services certainly needs more space, moving off campus is the wrong way forward. The university has a responsibility to provide its students, especially those required to live on campus, with essential resources. Students have a right to on-campus food, exercise and even psychological resources, and the university willingly provides those. Why not medical services, too?
William Tribble is a junior at The University of Mississippi.