The Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) voted Monday to appropriate $900 to pay the day-care expenses of Besha Rodell, daughter of Susanna Rodell '80, one of Radcliffe's two undergraduate mothers.
Rodell founded the Holden Green Child Care Center, where Besha is enrolled, last October, because she found the child care available at Harvard-related centers inadequate and expensive.
Harvard-related day-care centers presently have places for 79 children, at a fee of about $80 per week.
Marguerite Walker '80, the other undergraduate mother, will transfer her child to the Holden Center shortly.
RUS overwhelmingly supported Rodell's request. "I supported the decision for two reasons: first, because the two women are Radcliffe undergraduates; second, because there was a precedent in that the RUS used to give loans or grants for abortions," Anna K. Clark '79, vice president of the RUS, said yesterday.
Clark added that the RUS will be following through on the issue of undergraduate child care by discussing the policies of the admissions committee and the financial aid committee with administrators.
"The basic problem is that Harvard University doesn't provide any low-cost day-care centers for university mothers. The fees are phenomenally high," Cornelia F. Worsley '79, said. "I'm not sure the money should be coming from us. The responsibility of RUS is more to talk to Harvard to defray costs: we're doing a stopgap type of thing."
"Harvard takes no responsibility for people beyond House life," Walker said. She added that financial aid generally covers only educational expenses, and that child care is not included.
The Holden Center now has ten children enrolled, and expects to have 15 by February. "By February we should be breaking even," Rodell said.
The money appropriated by the RUS will go to pay for the tuition of Rodell's daughter, rather than as a direct grant to the center.
Rodell has already received a number of donations from the faculty and a grant from President Horner's discretionary fund, as well as a loan from Radcliffe. The tuition fee for the new child care center is scaled, so that those who are unable to afford the full $65 per week may pay $45 or even less.
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