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Student campaigns for campus daycare
Senior Staff Writer
Enrolling as a freshman at the age of 40, Lane Cheek was unable to take classes after 3 p.m. because of his daughter, and due to the price of day care, he felt he had no choice but to start on a project to implement a day care system at UNT.
As a non-traditional student representative and an emergency administration and planning senior, Cheek has been working on the project for two years and feels that some kind of day care should be provided. Multiple organizations have reached out to support his research, including the UNT Veterans Center, the Women’s Center and Student Activities, Lane said.
“After getting involved with the non-traditional students, I found out there are a lot of us who have these same problems,” Cheek said. “People will bring their children to night classes, so I knew that there was a need.”
The university defines non-traditional students as individuals who are older than the perceived “traditional college” age, has dependents other than their spouse or is a single parent, among others.
Elizabeth With, vice president of student affairs, organized a task force with the job of outlining the possibilities of a child care program, financially and structurally, by observing other schools and local day care centers.
“Currently it doesn’t seem like the local community is able to provide what our students need,” said Christa Coffey, director of student activities and chairman of the task force. “Pretty much we’re looking at the big picture and will make a proposal in May.”
The child care task force will hold their first meeting today.
“UNT is one of the few major universities that doesn’t have a day care,” Cheek said. “Even TWU has one, I think it’s time.”
Even if the proposal is successful, the concept will still face hurdles, Coffey said.
“There would be a lot of legal clearance because when you’re dealing with children, you would have to get people certified,” Coffey said. “There are a lot of things to look at.”
During his two years of research, a specific day care system that caught Lane’s attention was the University of Oregon’s “My Little Village.”
“They got around a lot of their budgeting and logistic problems by putting their day- care underneath the umbrella of their library budget,” Lane said. “It’s a drop-off style, which allows students to drop their child off and come back when class ends.”
While the University of Oregon’s style is his favorite option, there are other ways of paying for the day care, including federal grants or possibly adding a small cost onto student fees, Lane said.
“It would definitely make it a lot easier on me,” Ryan Lux, political science junior and father of four, said. “I think there are a lot of non-traditional students who want to come back to school. It would be so beneficial to the amount of people attending.”