Harvard Needs Child Care Centers

TO THE EDITORS

My name is Elizabeth Gibb, and I am the President of the Harvard Law School Child Care Center. My husband is Cabot Associate Professor in Biology Markus Meister. He spoke at the FAS faculty meeting, April 8, on the issue of day care and particularly our Law School Center's eminent closing. Thank you very much for publicizing our crisis. The article's title was a bit unfortunate in that it makes it seem that the situation is resolved, when it is far from resolved. We, as parents, are mobilizing our supporters to show Law School Dean Richard C. Clark and the greater University that these Centers are vital for the University's Faculty, staff, and students. I would like to state that we have no offer of support beyond our extension until June of 1998 from the Law School. If the Law School does not reverse its decision on the 23 Everett space, and we have to move to a new space, we need to know what that space is now to plan for renovation, etc. I am an Architect and have worked out a time-line which shows that if we do not have a new space designated by the end of June, we will not be able to make the July 1998 move in possible. The Law School made this decision to reclaim their space last October 1996 and have been working to find additional space but have not been successful. We strongly believe that the Law School should reverse its decision.

The Law School and University state that they would like to provide support for child care in other ways besides an on-site center. Many people choose their child care for many different reasons depending on their particular circumstances. We are all for a variety of choices for families with small children, we believe that these centers are a vital part of those choices. We are not asking the Law School or University for more, we are simply asking for the existing to remain as is.

I would hope you could do a follow up story on our case first of all stating that there is a great danger of the Center closing. We believe it is not just a space problem but a sense of priorities. I would like to know if it would be possible for The Crimson to do a story showcasing the University's six on-site centers. These centers are an example of Harvard at its best. Harvard, as a leader, should be using these centers as a model for other corporations, cities, etc. to demonstrate how high quality child care is accomplished. This topic would tie in nicely with the recent White House press conference which is releasing a report on the importance of the early years of childhood. These centers show what the greater community can do for the care of its children.

I would also like to point out that my husband and I feel very strongly about this topic because this center allowed us to work very hard these past three years. We are fighting to keep this center for the children of future families as our own daughter will be going to kindergarten in the Fall. --Elizabeth Gibb   HLSCCC Board President