College News

ASM supports UW-River Falls student medical leave policy for UW System

The Associated Students of Madison announced their support of UW-River Falls student body president Rosemary Pechous after she composed legislation granting students the ability to take time off from campus without needing to drop out of college.

Image By: Kalli Anderson

After experiencing suicidal thoughts and an overdose, UW-River Falls student body president Rosemary Pechous wrote and lobbied for the Student Medical Leave Act, which gained the support of Associated Students of Madison Wednesday.

During the fall semester of this academic year, Pechous needed to take some time off from campus to undergo treatment. While she struggled to find a solution, her academic career suffered. 

“I felt like the first student ever that needed to go to treatment, because the process I endured was disorganized,” Pechous said in her letter to the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Currently, if a student needs to take time off, they need to withdraw from their UW System school — which Pechous was continuously advised to do. However, simply withdrawing three to four weeks in to the semester results in 20 to 50 percent loss of tuition, while decreasing the possibility of the student being readmitted. 

The Student Medical Leave Act aims to provide students with the ability to take time off for  medical leave or a significant life event. Pechous was inspired by the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides universities employees opportunities to take time off without losing their jobs.

“The idea of SMLA is not fully developed. But with eagerness and communication, President Pechous hopes to discuss the realities of the bill with educators, lawmakers, ACLU members and students,” Pechous stated in legislation.

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