Opinion: UWT has a problem with child care

The lack of reliable access to child care has been a consistent issue at the UW Tacoma. As both a commuter school and a school that has a decent number of parents attending, the abil­ity to receive child care is vital.

By not providing it, the burden upon those parents is enhanced, and not just financially. The ability to al­locate the necessary hours to succeed in classes becomes exceedingly dif­ficult when child care is unavailable.

While at first glance, it may appear that the UWT YMCA provides a so­lution through its provisional child care, it in no way alleviates any of the burden from parents who are stu­dents. It is important to compare the contractual obligations the YMCA owes toward UWT with the way the YMCA actually functions in practice.

In the 2013 lease agreement be­tween the Board of Regents of the University of Washington (Landlord) and the Young Men’s Christian As­sociation of Pierce and Kitsap Coun­ties (Tenant), it specifies in article 1.24 that the “Student Center” refers to the “Premises, including without limitation, the Recreational Facilities and the Student Facilities.” It states that the “primary objective” of the Y is that of “improving the quality of student experiences at Landlord’s Tacoma.” The resources provided by the YMCA, first and foremost, are to be directed towards the benefit of UWT students.

Among the aforementioned “Rec­reational Facilities” are spaces such as “cardio and weight rooms, group exercise rooms … and a child watch room,” according to article 1.21.

At the University Y, the child care program offered is only available 5–8 p.m. If it were actually aimed to ben­efit students, as required by article 1.24, then the hours of operation would be available during standard class times. By only offering the child care in the evening, it benefits nine-to-five workers exercising after work — at the expense of students who need to attend classes during the day.

Arwa Dubad, the President of As­sociated Students of UWT, argued in correspondence that the Y is not do­ing the best it could for students.

“The University Y has done a poor job in prioritizing students,” Dubad said. “For the past couple years since the opening of the building, we have seen the focus be on the community members and not the students … The Y would need to change dramati­cally if they are going to be student-centered.”

The issues that parents face at UWT while trying to attend as stu­dents are not difficult to solve. Not only do we already possess the space to provide the necessary services, there is a pre-existing legal obligation to utilize that space in order to help those parents. The University Y needs to live up to its contract and provide adequate child care for parents at­tending UWT.

ILLUSTRATION BY BRUNO MARQUEZ
Lucas Waggoner

Lucas is a PPE major in University of Washington Tacoma, and he is graduating with a Bachelor’s in philosophy. His primary interests are philosophy, politics, and law. He is currently working as a teacher at a secondary school while preparing to attend law school immediately following graduation.

Lucas Waggoner

Lucas Waggoner

Lucas is a PPE major in University of Washington Tacoma, and he is graduating with a Bachelor's in philosophy. His primary interests are philosophy, politics, and law. He is currently working as a teacher at a secondary school while preparing to attend law school immediately following graduation.

%d bloggers like this: