Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 24, 1997

ASUA should involve students to discuss day care needs

ASUA's $2,500 donation last week to subsidize child care costs is not enough to realistically help students with children obtain adequate child care while they attend classes at the UA.

Ungrateful as this may seem to many non-parent students, this is how many students with children feel, at least the ones who read the story last week about ASUA's donation. Though the offer might seem generous to some and saintly to others, it's not enough. Students with child-care concerns need ASUA's political force as well as the lobbying expertise of the Arizona Students' Association.

Assuming that ASUA and ASA are advocates for student concerns, it is their duty to address the issue of child care. Students with children need a student-advocate force that will take this issue to the Board of Regents, state legislature, and UA administration. They should demand money, a building and staff to provide adequate child care.

UA students with children need an on campus child care center.

ASUA's generous donation of $2,500 won't even pay for the permits to get a day care center open, much less subsidize child care cost for any more than 25 students. What about the hundreds of others who need help?

Here's the opportunity for student representatives to do more than put a student-government position on a résumé. Here's the chance to take on the issue of non-traditional students' real-life concerns for child care.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council has long campaigned for improved child care at the UA. However GPSC's stumbling block, especially since its split from ASUA, has been a lack of financial resources and real political clout on campus.

Indeed, ASUA is the only student organization with enough resources at its disposal to make this issue matter to administrators, regents, and legislators.

Student leaders have been searching for a way to reach the entire student body. About 7 percent of the students on campus have children; a group that claims to represent all students must not ignore the needs of nearly 2,300 students.

Here's a challenge for ASUA: Gather a group of students with child-care concerns and not only tell them how, but help them to get the process rolling. Help them get funding and lobby for a child care space in the new help-all students Freshman Integrated Instructional Facility.

Take on an issue that does not affect your daily life and fight for it! That's what responsible representatives are supposed to do.

But the responsibility does not rest solely in the hands of student representatives.

Students with children should learn how to get involved in their child's education aside from finding a place to drop them off. Students with children need to approach ASUA and discuss their concerns. It will be good practice for when it's time to deal with a large school board.


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