A WIN FOR NURSING MOTHERS
A new temporary lactation room has been set up at SCC for nursing mothers.
The room is on the bottom floor of the gym. The room features a bright, spa-like environment with multiple couches. Additionally, the room has access to running water and a private bathroom with shower facilities.
Also plenty of storage space, as well as a running refrigerator and a microwave, will be provided.
The room was established because students and part-time faculty lacked an appropriate private space to pump or breastfeed.
According to HKM Employment Attorneys’ website, both federal and Washington state laws say that employers must provide “flexible schedules or break time for nursing mothers; a clean, safe, and private location, that is not a bathroom, where the mother can pump breast milk; clean and convenient running water for nursing mothers to wash their hands and breast pumps; and a sanitary fridge in the workplace where mothers can store breast milk.”
Prior to the installation, there was no official lactation room on campus. The only places for mothers to pump or breastfeed were either in a room in the library (which was more of a storage room) or in the Parent Child Center.
These rooms lacked the comfortable environment and privacy needed by nursing mothers. And SCC instructors like Michelle Kleisath expressed concerns on how there were no signs on campus regarding where to pump and how the previous locations seemed to not be compliant with the Affordable Care Act requirements.
Marisa Herrera, SCC’s Vice President of Students, Equity and Success, said the new room goes beyond the standards to provide a welcoming environment for all mothers.
Although the new lactation room in the gym may be a temporary location, Herrera said she is excited to say that a permanent lactation room will be coming to the counseling center starting in the fall.
However, the current lactation room may remain depending on students’ needs and may be one of multiple lactation rooms that SCC is planning to install throughout campus in the future.
Though, even with the new lactation room, there are still concerns regarding the lack of signage and awareness around campus on the opening of the new location. Kleisath voiced her opinion on the inconvenience of the new location and the need for students to have their own keys to the lactation room.
However, according to Herrera: “We are working with members of the community and welcome insight into how to facilitate the room reservation process,” she said.
She said that because the space is temporary, they’re still developing a system for usage.
“As we plan for fall, this will likely change,” Herrera said. “But it will be informed by users of the space, with safety, resources and community in mind.”
While talks are being continued, those who use the lactation room are encouraged to voice their thoughts and give feedback to Sheryl Copeland in the counseling center to further enhance and improve any current or future lactation spaces on campus.
The lactation room is located in Room 3010B, in the women’s locker room, in the Athletics Building. To obtain the key, check in at the desk on the bottom floor.
By Jerry Choi,