Bylaws and Policies

Political Policy Students with Dependents

Expires April, 2023

  1. The University of Alberta has over 1,000 undergraduate students with dependent children[1].
  2. Students with dependent children are twice as likely as other students to have homelessness-related experiences like eviction, living in vehicles, or staying with friends without paying formal rent.
  3. First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students are over three times more likely than other students to be parents of dependent children.
  4. Family commitments prevent many students with dependents from accessing opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom.
  5. Students with dependent children have unique needs for accessibility and accommodations.
    1. The University of Alberta has no policy on children in classrooms.
    2. The University of Alberta has no policy on undergraduate parental care leave.
  6. Students with dependent children are more likely to work during the school year than other students.
  7. Students with dependent children often see a great need for professional development opportunities.
  8. Students with dependent children have higher rates of food insecurity than other students[2].
    1. Compared to the average student, students with dependent children are three times more likely to skip meals more than three times per week due to the cost of food.
  9. There is a very limited number of maternity/lactation spaces on campus and they are not accessible to most students with dependent children (3).
    1. The University of Alberta currently has one maternity/lactation space on the 5th floor of ECHA, and one at the University Health Centre.
    2. While rooms dedicated to nursing help in making spaces welcoming for nursing, nursing is not an activity that belongs only in private spaces and nursing parents should feel comfortable doing so wherever they see fit.
  10. There are a limited number of change tables in washrooms on campus and they are not accessible to most students with dependent children (3).
    1. The University of Alberta does not have a published map of change table locations.
  11. As of 2020, the University of Alberta will only be offering one choice of residence for student families.
    1. Newton Place allows for student families of up to two children.
    2. Michener Park will be closed as of August 2020 due to ballooning deferred maintenance, closing a residence which housed more than 150 students and their families.
    3. There is no published plan from Residence Services for a new residence dedicated to student families.
  12. The University of Alberta has no dedicated child-friendly student spaces.
    1. There are no dedicated child-friendly study spaces at the University of Alberta libraries.
    2. The fear of reactions from peers often means that students with dependent children are unable to study comfortably with their children in student spaces.
  13. The University of Alberta provides 6 childcare spaces, 2 of which are on campus.
    1. The waitlists for these centres are often prohibitively long, with wait times ranging from several months to multiple years[3].
    2. There is a significant need for just-in-time or drop-in childcare support.
  14. Dependency extends past just students with dependent children; many students on campus also care for dependent siblings or elders.
    1. These students face many of the same accommodation needs as students with dependent children and should be included in a University of Alberta policy for student caregivers.

Resolutions

  1. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University continue to expand and solidify the Student Caregiver Network through the Dean of Students Office.
  2. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University and all faculties create a permissive policy for children in classrooms and include this policy information in class syllabi.
    1. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University create and promote resources for instructors on the accommodation of children in classrooms.
  3. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University create a policy for undergraduate parental care leave.
  4. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University provide information and educational resources for professional development through the Student Caregiver Network.
  5. The Students’ Union will advocate for increased awareness and accessibility to subsidized food services for students with dependents.
  6. The Students’ Union will advocate for the creation of accessible maternity/lactation spaces on University of Alberta campuses.
  7. The Students’ Union will advocate for University of Alberta campuses to be lactation friendly spaces for all campuses.
  8. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University include change tables in all new and renovated washrooms.
  9. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University create and publish an online map with change tables and maternity/lactation spaces on all campuses.
  10. The Students’ Union will advocate that Residence and Ancillary Services provide more accessible housing options for student families.
  11. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University create dedicated child-friendly student spaces in the University libraries.
  12. The Students’ Union will advocate that University childcare centres prioritize student parent applicants when admitting children into care.
  13. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University provide accessible, on-campus, and low-cost drop-in childcare services.

References

  1. https://www.su.ualberta.ca/media/uploads/1143/2018UndergradSurveyReport.pdf
  2. https://www.su.ualberta.ca/media/uploads/1143/StudentHomelessnessandFoodInsecurity.pdf
  3. https://www.su.ualberta.ca/media/uploads/1143/Survey%20Report_%20Parents%20on%20Campus.pdf