JMU announces changes to counseling services following record breaking year

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Following a record breaking year, James Madison University announced some changes to its counseling program to meet a growing need.

Some of the money from the campaign will go to Valley Scholars, a program that helps students in the Valley become the first in their families to earn their college degree.

In a notice to students last week, JMU wrote:

"Due to an ongoing high level of demand for clinical services and the limits of our resources, the Counseling Center is no longer able to defer to students’ preferences or requests to meet individually with a counselor."

Several students responded negatively to this change. In a tweet, one student wrote:
"This is embarrassing. This is like saying "Because of the increased calls about fires, we are removing all fire hydrants and sprinklers from campus buildings. Not all students can afford counseling. That's why university health center is so important. Get it together."

According to Tim Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs, the counseling center is not eliminating individual counseling altogether, rather changing their policy to service more students.

In an updated notice to students, JMU explained that "In the past, there were many times when a student’s needs aligned perfectly with what we provide in one of our treatment programs or therapy groups, but because the student voiced a strong desire for individual counseling, we accommodated that request."

The notice continued, "Now, because of the ongoing high level of demand for our services, we are no longer able to negotiate in these situations but will instead hold to our recommendations."

Miller told WHSV that over the summer, the University hired three more counselors, and increased counseling staff by 19 percent; however, the need for services increased 27 percent this year.

The university also saw record breaking days back to back last month.

Miller said the changes are to ensure that all students receive the services they need.