We applaud the College?s decision to create a trial of extended hours at the Dudley Coe Health Center to include the weekends. From November 20 until Spring Break, the Health Center will be open for students on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afterward, the College will make a decision regarding whether or not the hours should become permanent.

With confusing insurance policies, unfamiliar faces, and the problems of transportation, many students are likely apprehensive about going to an emergency room unless they have a major health problem that they know needs urgent attention. Students should not have to risk waiting until Monday morning if they are unsure about the seriousness of a certain health problem. WebMD.com does not always have the answer.

We hope little weight will be placed on the mere number of students who use the hours when determining whether or not to keep the Health Center open for parts of the weekend. The prospect that these extended hours could help a student in a profound way is very real. Whether it?s treating an infection that is far more severe than a student anticipated, or creating additional access to emergency contraception, if it helps one student in a life-altering way then it is worth it. With a cost of just $200 a weekend for these extended hours?just a drop in the bucket for a school that charges $41,660 for a single student?s tuition and fees?we wonder how the College could choose not to keep these hours permanent.

This issue is a matter of setting priorities. Controversy has surrounded this debate about Health Center hours for decades at Bowdoin, but to us it seems rather simple. Having at least a few hours open everyday will benefit the student body.

Access to healthcare remains a challenge for tens of millions of Americans today. While most of these Americans are not at Bowdoin, the idea of increased access to healthcare should still be welcomed. Come the end of the trial period in March, we hope the College will make the right decision and extend its hours to the weekends permanently.

The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient?s editorial board. The editorial board consists of the editors-in-chief and the managing editor.