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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 1. 6th March 1974

University Ignores Parents' Needs — Free Studass Creche no Solution

University Ignores Parents' Needs

Free Studass Creche no Solution

Last year the Students' Association paid for the operation of a free creche in the Memorial Theatre Foyer. The creche was open in the mornings from 9am to 12pm, and was available to all children over the age of two. The woman in charge of the creche, who was qualified, was paid only a pittance for her enthusiasm and hard work which was the main reason the creche managed to stay in operation.

The creche will be operating again this year; same place, same time, with the same conditions. Which shows that nothing has changed. The University creche in Fairlie Terrace has still not expanded; it is still over-crowded and over-expensive, it still allows parents a maximum of four hours a week, and it is still a long walk from the University.

Apart from the over-crowding, which the University is prepared to ameliorate, the other conditions will remain constant. Four hours a week, one hour at a time (if you have a car) is just long enough to attend lectures for 12 credits. A car is needed because the walk from the creche to the university and back again to the creche can take up a good 20 minutes of your hour. Unless a mother finds some alternative and additional place to put her children she will probably do only 12 credits and not enjoy them because she won't have time to get her library books let alone time to read them.

The whole situation is aggravated by certain other facts. The University claims that the University Grants Committee does not consider the provision or the expansion of creches to be of high priority and is consequently unwilling to spend money on them.

The creche parents have very little solidarity, mostly because they have varying economic resources. Some wouldn't worry if the creche fees were doubled while some can hardly pay them as they are. Also what little solidarity there is is used in pressuring the Students' Association to produce a solution to all the parent's problems.

The Students' Association has produced a short-term solution, but the effects of this can be seen in the change in attitude of the University towards the Students' Association's creche. Last year the attitude of the University creche was one of ill-disguised disapproval and scorn. This year, realising that they need the Students' Association's creche, their attitude has changed to one of friendly helpfulness.

Nothing could do more to show how the 'solution' which has been forced onto the Students' Association is not a solution.

As long as we are prepared to run, at our own expense, an over-flow creche, then the university is not being forced to take the problems seriously and to provide the only real solution by providing a creche which can meet the needs of student parents.

by Lisa Sacksen

Drawing of a Chinese person balancing a barrel on their head