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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 16. 1972

The Past

The Past

The association holds to the philosophy that the welfare of students is the responsibility of the state." President Peter Cullen has offered a clear pathway for action towards a solution of the creche's present problem with this statement. But is the creche really as limited in concept as the Student's president would present it? Is this issue a case of pressure of an already privileged minority? Is it really no more than a welfare service in the same category as medical care, counselling and accommodation?

If the creche club had taken Cullen's advice in 1967 and waited for government policy and social attitudes to change, child care facilities could be still just a principle and a functioning fact. Enquiries and visits by outside institutions and organisations show time and again that the creche's very presence is a catalyst towards change in the com munity. The creche was a precedent and can be pointed to as a functioning community responsibility.

In 1967 then, the creche was affiliated to the Student Association and operated from the Plunket Rooms in Kelburn. In 1968 with no premises, the creche made submissions to the council to be incorporated into the permanent structure of the university either as part of Student Union facilities, or as part of Student Welfare, or as a completely separate independent area of concern. Along with other organisations the Student organisation provided the Council with writ ten support for the creche association. The Council noted that the Student Association offered to pay $125 towards alterations in the Boyd Wilson Pavillion if our application to use these premises on a conditional basis was successful. This grant was never uplifted.

The Council decided a creche was a necessary facility in 1969 and the University provided, a house and paid for alterations. It pays for cleaning, insurance, electricity and telephone plus the salary of one of the supervisee. The balance needed for wages, equipment and repairs is coughed up by the students using the facility. Because its standard and availability is dependent upon the students' ability to pay for it the creche is therefore not comparable with other welfare services. So far the $200 grant from the Student Association is to the best of my knowledge "held in hand" by the Welfare Services because the creche cannot afford to spend it as it has to be continually solvent during the periods when incoming fees lag behind costs.

While the Student Association was working on its philosophy and disaffiliated the creche in 1969 at a regular executive meeting the creche association handled staff-appointments, finance allocation of hours of use, collecting of equipment and all the teething problems associated with a precedent facility in the university or for that matter the community. Social workers and conference organisers asked for our cooperation and Child Welfare was confronted with a new type of child care.

In 1971 the Student Association helped in making submissions to Council and we got promised an advisory committee and a permanent full time supervisor. The realities were that shortage of university funds prohibited the appointment of a full time supervisor and we were told that supplementary premises were unlikely to be available in the next 3-4 years. That's where it rests. The Student Association bowed out leaving us with their thoughful philosophy and for better or worse the creche and its future concepts are now part of Student Welfare;

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