No babysitter? That Sounds Like a Personal Problem: Goucher College’s “Child Protection Policy”

Posted on March 7, 2012


Last week, Goucher College passed its “Child Protection Policy”, which, among other things, bans children of staff, faculty, and students from being in the classroom. Not only are children banned from the classroom, but parents must pay out of pocket to hire a Goucher College approved babysitter to keep their child on campus.

The policy was drafted in response to the recent controversy surrounding Penn State’s Joe Paterno. Unfortunately, instead of finding a solution that would discourage pedophiles from being employed at Goucher, or encouraging community members to come forward when suspecting foul play by reducing bureaucracy, the college has only made it more difficult for parents to go about their days. Both students and staff have children at Goucher, and the child ban has made it more difficult to go to class and work.

Finding a babysitter last minute is hard enough, and putting a complicated process to find a Goucher babysitter who is available on demand is not helping. Perhaps a more useful solution is to institute a daycare, like dozens of colleges, universities, and technical institutions in this country. While the administration may be tempted to argue that Goucher is too small, and it would be too difficult to staff, institutions such as Bard College, Hampshire College, and Marlboro College-all comprable in size-have on campus daycare programs. In fact, on campus daycare would even create Federal Work Study jobs, which is often a goal of the college.

In its reactionary hurry to create a policy, Goucher College has further alienated students and staff members with children. While it can be distracting for children to be in the classroom (although, in my experience, this is mostly untrue), it is disgraceful to say, as Sandy Ungar, President of Goucher, has in a recent email to students, “Goucher College will always be a family-friendly environment,” and then make it more difficult for Goucher’s community members to find babysitting solutions. The “Child Protection Policy”, without being coupled with on-campus daycare, is nothing but a slap in the face for students and staff who are also parents.

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