By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 27, 2002
Illustration by Cody Angell
Arriving to class and finding a young child accompanying a parent is not unusual. Nor is thinking about bringing your kid to lecture unfathomable. The Arizona Daily Wildcat reported on Friday that UA childcare isn't up to par with other Pac-10 universities.
Looking back over the last five years, the controversy of improving campus childcare has escalated to the point that it has made the platform for ASUA elections and Wildcat opinion board editorials year after year.
The last survey on student-parent issues was completed in 1994 revealing that some 7 percent to 10 percent of UA students were parents. Out of those, 54 percent were working toward undergraduate degrees.
Although there is no current on-site childcare facility, $62,500 is appropriated for UA childcare annually. This money supports the Childcare Resource and Referral Program, which provides student-parents with free information on community childcare programs. Also, the sick childcare program temporarily provides caregiver service for sick children. The subsidy program also can provide about $500 a semester to a small number of students to help with the costs of childcare.
But these programs do not provide to UA student and faculty parents the services our rival schools do. Perhaps not providing on-site childcare is a battle of morals. Maybe parents need to just deal with it.
Assuming one out of 10 students right now has a child somewhere, should the UA put providing optimal childcare onto the front burner?
Students are not UA's priority
What is the top priority for the UA? The answer would be difficult to find, but it certainly wouldn't be students. UA students have taken the back seat for many years and on nearly every issue. No matter what some groups may say, the main reason the UA doesn't provide childcare for student parents to the level of other universities is because students are simply not the top priority.
I agree that student parents need accessible, quality childcare on campus. Parents should be encouraged to further their education. Without on-campus childcare, many parents often find themselves working minimum-wage jobs and do not improve their situations. The result is more dependence on social service agencies. Parents should not be punished for trying to improve their social standing.
Unfortunately, in a time of a budget crisis, when the university is about to be stripped to the bare bones, new programs - no matter how necessary - are difficult to justify. Money for on-campus childcare would have to come from other areas, and students who are not parents would suffer. In this budget crisis, everyone, including student parents, must bear some of the strain.
Kendrick Wilson is a political science freshman. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Education building playground
The Wildcat reported in Friday's paper that students with children can apply for a $500-per-semester subsidy to help with childcare costs. While surely helpful, that figure is a tad ironic, seeing as how most parents are spending around $500 a month to cover childcare costs.
It comes down to the question of who we want on campus. One can make the argument that the UA has worked hard to keep tuition as low as possible to offer an education to everyone - not just the traditional university student. So why then only allocate a meager $62,500 a year to childcare, thereby disenfranchising parents?
I began college at the ripe old age of 7. My mother began her doctorate with a 7 (me!) - and a 5-year-old, and I have many fond memories of running like banshees through the halls of the Education building. Why? Because there was no on-site playground for us to spend time in. But at least my mom finished, and so, too, should students with dependents. This institution is public, and financial issues shouldn't keep out moms and dads. After all, they make up one out of every 10 students in the classroom.
Laura Winsky is a senior majoring in Spanish and political science. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life isn't fair - especially at college
Life throws everyone a few punches. Some people have financial difficulties. Others have health problems. There are the kinds of things that come into one's life that can inhibit a person from taking it easy. Having a child to take care of while trying to complete a college degree is a handful.
Don't get me wrong. Having children is not a predicament - it's a blessing. But they do make other responsibilities a little more difficult, especially school. I understand that it is a very important concern to the parents on campus that the university provide on-site childcare facilities, but you have to realize that in an ideal setting where money comes pouring in at the drop of a hat, it would be possible.
However, thanks to the depressing budget cuts, our whole campus is suffering. The disability center is located all the way out on First Street and Cherry Avenue. Obviously, these locations - as well as other aspects of other campus facilities - are far less than convenient. But there are some options available to those student parents.
Sorry to say, but those parents just need to make do with what they have, because we all are trying to do the same thing. Everyone has problems that make school a little more difficult for one reason or another.
But no one said life was supposed to be fair.
Mariam Durrani is a systems engineering junior. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Students and taxpayers would both benefit from childcare service
I know the argument: Creating a state-funded, on-campus childcare service tells young, single mothers that their immoral behavior is OK.
Sure, a lot of those who would use the program have made mistakes.
But single, uneducated parents on welfare will end up costing taxpayers more in the long run than a daycare program that makes it easier for women - and men, as the case may be - to go to college, get a job and become financially independent.
And think about this: Are all college students with children 18- to 21-year-old unwed women?
Many married individuals go to college in their 20s and 30s so they can help contribute to their household's income.
With one parent at work and the other at school, the rugrats might not have anywhere else to go during the day.
And what if a young woman was the victim of a rape?
There are a lot of people, many of whom have done nothing morally wrong by anyone's standards, who would benefit from on-campus childcare.
It would be a burden lifted off of student-parents and taxpayers alike.
Shane Dale is a political science junior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.The UA should do lots of things
The UA should do lots of things
It would be nice if the university provided childcare for its students. Nice, but not obligatory. As best I can determine, the UA isn't rolling in the kind of money it needs to provide comprehensive childcare. Presently, the UA spends almost $65,000 a year on programs to assist parents, and, although an undoubtedly insufficient sum, it's probably the best the university can do.
On-campus childcare does not grow on trees. I would rather see the university pay its talented professors to stick around than spend an exorbitant amount on students who might have made better arrangements for themselves and their children.
Yeah, I know it sounds cold, heartless and maybe a little bitter, but I've seen too many amazing professors move away citing "laughable" salaries to advocate the use of university funds for reasons other than education.
Granted, I don't have a child, but I will someday. When I'm married. When I'm making money, not spending it on an education. When - if I have to use childcare - I can afford it. Or when I have a job that provides childcare, if necessary.
And while on-campus childcare is a great way to encourage and uplift struggling students and their children, it cannot not be a primary concern of the university - unless the university can afford it without sacrificing quality of education.
Daniel Cucher is a creative writing senior. He can be reached at email@example.com.What are we talking about here?
What are we talking about here?
There are really two issues to consider here, and I'm not sure which is being addressed.
The first is whether on-campus childcare should be made available at the UA.
Sounds like a great idea. Parents will have a convenient, safe place for their children to stay while they attend class. Furthermore, given the UA's stringent stance on cost efficiency, I'm compelled to believe that the price of childcare would be lower at a university facility than a private one.
That brings us to the second issue: Who should pay for childcare?
By and large, I don't think it should be the university or the general student population.
When people have children, they make many commitments, not the least among them being financial. Being a parent shouldn't preclude one from being a student, but, by the same token, being a student shouldn't absolve one from parental responsibility.
Of course, such a system would disproportionately affect single women; Therefore, I think a system of sliding-scale payment would be appropriate.
However, the university's duty lies in making the facilities themselves available and convenient, and not in making them free.
Caitlin Hall is a biochemistry and philosophy freshman. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.