To the Editor:
As an alumna and a mother of two small children, I was saddened to see that Yale is well behind its peer institutions in terms of family-friendly policies.
I teach at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a state university plagued by financial difficulties and budget cuts. Unlike Yale, we don’t have a multibillion-dollar endowment. Yet somehow UMass was able to build a child-care center — one that has received national recognition as a model of excellence. Moreover, faculty at UMass have the option of an entire semester of leave — at full pay — upon the birth or adoption of a child. This benefit applies to mothers, fathers, spouses and domestic partners.
How has UMass been able to achieve such family-friendly policies when it is flat broke? The graduate students’ union mobilized for subsidized, flexible day care to meet the needs of teaching assistants, and to allow them to complete their degrees on time. The faculty and staff unions negotiated paid parental leave and medical leave in their recent collective bargaining agreements. All of these negotiated policies meet the needs of the people who make the university work.
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead says “the issue is being carefully studied.” But the issue doesn’t need more study, it needs more negotiation. The administration should listen to the voices of its own faculty, graduate students and employees.
Eve Weinbaum ’85 GRD ’97
february 19, 2002
The writer is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and helped found GESO.