Temple was founded for the non-traditional student in the 1880s when Russell Conwell began tutoring adults at night after their full-time jobs.
It’s only fitting that the university remain faithful to its founding mission, offering services to make schooling possible for those who still struggle with access. Temple could still improve access to education for student-parents. non-traditional students.
While the university had a grant-funded daycare on campus in the 1970s, it no longer exists, and there are currently no similar services available. Given Temple prides itself on diversity and access, the university should consider offering some sort of childcare option for student-parents who are trying to gain an education while balancing the responsibilities of raising a child.
Temple has an Employee Assistance Program that offers child care referrals for full-time staff and faculty. But the program doesn’t extend to students or adjunct instructors.
“I always wondered why Temple didn’t have a daycare on campus. The school itself really promotes diversity,” said Syreeta Martin, a 2012 journalism alumna who co-founded the now defunct Non-Traditional Student Union, which celebrated Temple’s non-traditional student population.
“I think if we’re going to promote diversity then we know that there are diverse people coming here with different needs,” Martin added.
The university has already taken a step to help students and faculty members who are mothers with the installation of a Mamava breastfeeding station on the second floor of the Student Center — making it the first university in Pennsylvania to offer a specific place for breastfeeding. The Mamava is located on the second floor near the bathrooms.
“[If] you’re going to install breastfeeding stations, then you acknowledge that there are children,” Martin said. “Take that acknowledgment or awareness a step further and say, ‘What else can we do?’ And I think the answer to that question is a daycare on campus.”
I agree with Martin. In fact, many other universities have already taken this initiative. The University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University and Rutgers University all offer child care for student-parents.
Sherrita Sutton, a sophomore psychology and philosophy major and student-parent, said she struggles with balancing caring for her daughter and going to school.
“My mom usually stays home and watches [my daughter] all day,” Sutton said. “If my mom gets sick or something I usually have to take off school.”
She said beside her mother, she doesn’t have anyone else to help take care of her daughter.
“I wish they did have a daycare,” Sutton said. “If it wasn’t for my mom, I really would be struggling to choose between my daughter and going to school. I don’t have anybody else to watch her.”
Having a daycare on campus would not only help student parents and faculty members with children, but it could also offer a new opportunity for students who aspire to work with children to get hands-on experience by working at the daycare.
But regardless of this benefit, parenting shouldn’t be the reason someone can’t go to school, especially at a university that touts accessibility.
No one should have to choose between reaching their educational goals and taking care of their child. Temple should make it so student-parents don’t have to make this decision.
And a daycare on campus may be the best way to accomplish this goal.