Student denied counseling

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Vice president says he will investigate incident.

Clarifications were requested to this story see the article “Time for fall, summer advising.”

By Marina Garcia

Monica Rodriguez, computer support specialist freshman, was barred from seeing a counselor Feb. 5 because she had a hold on her account.

A clerk at the counseling center told Rodriguez she would have to wait until the hold was removed to see a counselor.

“I felt very discouraged,” Rodriguez said. “Even though I am a student here, I am enrolled and taking a class on campus and I can’t speak to a counselor?”

The clerk refused to allow Rodriguez access to a counselor even though a counselor offered to help.

“I want somebody to point me in the right direction,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t think that was fair, and I think that wasn’t right. If talking to a counselor is going to be a challenge, what else is going to be a challenge just to be a student here?”

Dr. Robert Vela, vice president for student and academic success, said Tuesday a clerk should not have prevented her from seeing a counselor, and this was the first time he had heard of this happening.

“That is unacceptable,” he said. “That is not the practice we have.”

Vela said he would investigate so other students won’t face this situation.

Vela said Wednesday, “I will have someone call her and get her side of the story.” The task falls to Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs and Julie Engel, director of student development.

Dr. David Rodriguez, coordinator for the counseling and advising center, said if a student wants to talk to a counselor academically, the hold will have to be removed, but if counseling for personal reasons is being sought, the hold does not have to be removed.

Students can check for account updates in ACES, where they will be notified if a hold is found on the account, Rosa Maria Gonzalez, counselor and transfer center coordinator, said.

Monica Rodriguez’s hold was related to the Texas Success Initiative, a state-legislated program providing assistance with reading, writing and math skills of students entering Texas public colleges and universities, but she was seeking counseling for personal reasons.

A hold on a student’s account keeps a student from registering for classes, requesting copies of transcripts and graduating. The counseling center offers help for students with holds and directs the student to the correct department to have a hold removed, Gonzalez said.

Holds are placed on accounts by counseling and advising, student development and the business office.

Reasons include academic probation or dismissal, transcripts, balance due, record of bacterial meningitis shot, a GPA of 2.0 or lower and financial aid.

Vela said students should be able to go to the counseling center to ask questions about holds.

For counseling, call 210-486-0864.


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