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Day-Care Shortage, Students Take Toddlers To College Classes

December 5, 1992

HOUSTON (AP) _ Hundreds of students at Texas Southern University are taking their young children to class because they can’t find affordable day care.

″There are 3- and 4-year-olds running around classrooms, there are infants being breast-fed in unsanitary bathrooms - it’s all over campus,″ said Student Government Association President Tamara Sterling.

She said she asked 500 randomly selected students and found 361 had children and 223 took them to school. There are more than 11,000 students at the university.

″I’ve seen as many as five infants in one class and the attention that goes toward them instead of the instructor can be frustrating to the entire class,″ she said.

Ms. Sterling on Friday asked the Board of Regents to set up an affordable day-care facility so the image of TSU students doesn’t become ″books in one arm, a child in the other arm and another child on the back.″

The regents told the administration to report on the matter by Feb. 12.

″I have no reason to believe the situation isn’t as bad as the students say it is,″ said regent Odysseus Lanier. ″They’re out there living under such circumstances. So if there’s any way we can provide affordable, hourly- paid day care, we need to do it.″

University President William Harris said three groups are studying the problem: a committee of deans who have heard complaints from faculty, student government leaders and the school’s Center on the Family.

Ironically, Bobbie Henderson, director of the Center on the Family, said she had to take her children to class when she was a TSU student.

″It was pretty rough,″ she said.

The nearby University of Houston has a day-care facility that serves more than 200 students, one of the biggest such centers in the country. It also has a waiting list of 400.

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