Kaler announces postponement of UMN Child Development Center closure

The move by the University president comes after protests and criticism by parents.

University President Eric Kaler fields questions during an interview with the Minnesota Daily on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Easton Green

University President Eric Kaler fields questions during an interview with the Minnesota Daily on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Carter Blochwitz

In a letter sent out Friday, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced the closure of the Child Development Center would be postponed until alternatives for childcare on campus are explored. 

This release followed a January announcement of the center’s closure by summer 2019. The Child Development Center has provided childcare and enrichment programs to children for University faculty, staff and students since 1974.

Megan Kocher, a science librarian at the University and a parent, has been advocating for families who will be affected by the closure and said she didn’t expect the postponement.

“We were happily surprised. We’re really thrilled with this development,” Kocher said. “We see this as a great first step. Now we feel like we can work with the administration.”

Per Kaler’s letter, the exploration by the University will include:

  • An assessment of our ability, either alone or with a public/private or nonprofit partnership, to scale the child care services to serve more families while retaining the high quality for which the CDC is known.
  • A cost model that will reduce and ultimately eliminate the University subsidy that is currently required. We are under pressure to prioritize our budget, and subsidies of all kinds are under scrutiny.
  • Recognition of the role that the CDC serves in allowing undergraduate students majoring in child development a convenient, easily accessible facility to complete their practicum requirements.

More than 25 families with small children piled into Morrill Hall and up the stairs to Kaler’s office on Feb. 8 to protest the closure.