The LSE Students’ Union has launched a campaign to save the campus nursery after LSE closed the only childcare services on campus following claims of financial insecurity.
According to a statement released by the LSESU, the Union was informed by LSE in July that the nursery may be closed in the near future. By September, the nursery was unilaterally closed “without formal consultation”.
This follows unsuccessful attempts to do the same in both 2010 and 2015, in which LSE claimed it no longer had the financial abilities to house a nursery, which is open to both students and staff, as well as external users, mostly from King’s College London.
The Union’s statement adds that LSE claims it is unable to invest in a new space for the nursery due to the financial difficulties posed by COVID-19. However, the LSESU argues that LSE is using the pandemic “[as] a pretext to cut down its general childcare commitments long-term.”
The official petition includes four demands:
- “LSE must provide a new, on-campus Nursery for students and staff by Summer 2021
- LSE must reinstate the Nursery discount of 50% for students
- LSE must secure emergency childcare provision for the 20/21 academic year
- LSE must invest into making its campus more child and parent friendly”
Laura Goddard, the LSESU Community and Welfare Officer, told The Beaver that closing the nursery “without warning” has resulted in a negative impact on the wellbeing of parents: “Some parents (students) have had to go back to their home countries as a result”, whilst other parents have had to use local childcare provisions which have higher costs.
From the statement released by the LSESU, Goddard said that “LSE’s decision to close its Nursery after fifty years is a disastrous move that will hit women and student parents the hardest… As a community, we must act to reverse this decision and reinstate accessible, affordable childcare on campus.”
Sumaya Osman, the LSESU Women’s Officer, added that “[a] nursery is not a luxury. It’s a basic necessity for social mobility and gender equality. The closing of the nursery is [a] discriminative decision that will disadvantage and deter the most vulnerable students.”