by Irma Pelt
Senior Staff Writer
Haupine University announced plans last week to eliminate mental health and cognitive psychological services from its employee benefit package effective immediately.
“This does not undermine the importance of mental health and wellness,” said Brantley Peppers, Human Resources Director at Haupine. “I think you’ll find that our new plan supports mental well-being in a more relevant way.”
According to the press release issued by the university, Haupine found that less than 60 percent of its employees were utilizing the cognitive services benefit.
“I theorized that they weren’t taking advantage of those opportunities because in some manner, we’re meeting that need right here on campus,” said Peppers.
Peppers explained that the oversharing that consistently occurs in existing committee meetings will now be considered group therapy.
“You’ve already got a group of people with common interests in a room. Why not exploit what we already have going on in conference rooms across campus?” said Peppers.
Biology department chair Marianne Sputtle filed a complaint with Haupine’s Board of Trustees about the new plan.
“The oversharing makes me uncomfortable,” Sputtle wrote in her statement.
She cited a faculty member who derailed discussion for forty minutes last month discussing what type of birth control would be most appropriate should she be denied tenure and instead have a family.
“It’s detrimental to the success of my department and, ultimately, unnecessary. Now I’m forced to decide whether I’d rather grant her tenure or have her procreate,” wrote Sputtle.
Adele Potinga, adjunct faculty in mathematics, is supportive of the new plan.
“I love our daily departmental meetings,” Potinga said. “It gives me a chance to really talk through what’s going on with me and in my classroom and in my personal life. I’ve really had some great advice working through my issues stemming from my parents’ divorce while I was at summer camp in 1984.”