After UMN fees cuts, in defense of our students’ child care

Kris Graham

Eligible funding from the University’s Student Service Fees has been cut back for the Community Child Care Center. What a shameful mistake.

As the outgoing General Manager of Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative — which provides 464 units of student housing on the St. Paul Campus of the University in the same building as the Community Child Care Center (CCCC) — I have witnessed what quality child care can mean to limited income University of Minnesota students. I have observed kids from all over the world learn and grow because of a great atmosphere of quality care; this does support University students in a very vital way.

This year they have been subject to Student Service Fees cuts. The fees had provided funding since the early 1980s. They say that there are so many clubs to fund. Is it because the friendship club or the knitting club or any other club that students think would be fun is more important to fund? Do they really need funding to exist on campus? It is nice to fund all of those groups, but is it necessary? Quality child care is sorely lacking at the University of Minnesota.

Child care for adult University students is vital — and the care that is being provided at the student cooperatives, Community Child Care Center and Como Early Learning Center prepares children to start school and provides the peace of mind that University students need for success — and deserves to be included in the annual distribution of Student Service Fees.

It seems that the changes that have been made to the Student Services process were not well thought out, and putting the funding of such a vital part of the University student’s lives in the hands of those who most likely know nothing about being a student with children is not fair to the students who need quality child care. To me, it is clear that the Student Services people need more training or at least more outside input on what is really important when spending students’ money.

Childcare is one of the areas that we as Americans need to step up and start funding. It is important to everyone in our society and to all of the University students with children to have a safe and affordable place to leave their children as they attend school, whether they are an undergraduate, which I was, or a graduate student.

With the huge budget that the University deals with, it is hard to believe that President Kaler can’t find a line item in his budget to help support some of the kids who belong to the students of the University of Minnesota. There are literally no other resources for the child care facilities to count on. Let’s not stop funding things that really do help students succeed.

Kris Graham

B.S. Housing Studies, University of Minnesota

Grandma and mother of a U of M graduate.

Editor’s Note: This letter has been edited slightly for style and factual clarity.