Vet. Services hopes for more space, resources
By Reuben Gonzales - Staff Reporter
Most students wouldn't know it by the campus website or even signs around campus that there are veteran students among them.
The Veterans Services office is located in Building 6, tucked away on the bottom floor, away from public view.
If new veteran students tried to find the information they needed online, they would need to search for it, unlike many colleges where the link it displayed on the front page.
Veterans Services was given a small space that is sectioned off by cubicle walls that offer little to no privacy.
In this space, they process all of the veterans' paperwork in order for the Veterans Administration to pay for their classes and get the student paid.
Thomas Cline has been a student at Highline since fall 2015, he is working on a second degree in medical the assistant field. He is also one of the veteran students who help veterans with their paperwork.
"As an office, we put students first and try to work for the vet," said Cline. "We try to offer a safe space for veterans to come and vent."
The issue with having thin cubicle walls is the lack of privacy. Vets are not allowed to walk-in and talk about what is wrong without worrying about how they say it, Cline said.
"We have had complaints about language and volume in the past," said Cline. "Most of the vets either have bad hearing or a lack of volume control."
The next major issue for veterans is a simple one but nonetheless frustrating, students say. The lack of space is apparent when it comes time to submit registration paperwork for the quarter. With more than 200 veteran students, this can lead to a lot of people crammed into one room.
"We get to standing room only with some vets who have disability ratings to force them to stand and wait is unacceptable," Cline said.
It's not that veterans feel excluded but more invisible, they feel forgotten, said several students. This is made evident by the office not being listed on the Building 6 directory.
"Not being recognized as a culture that is full of traditions," said Kendall Evans, Highline Veterans Service specialist.
Evans would like to see the Veterans Service office feel safe for veterans, like the USO felt when most of the vets were abroad.
"We could do so much with a space," said Evans. "We could start a veteran learning community or study groups."
The typical veteran is older and comes with a myriad of responsibilities. Some are married, have children, and bigger bills than the traditional student. Evans wants to try to go through clubs to get more for the veterans he oversees.
"It's a promise that we would take care of and help with the transition from service member to student leaders," Evans said.
"One of the greatest things about Highline is it prides itself on being inclusive," said Evans. "But not for veterans."