Lactation Room to open next semester

Student Life Office to open a private nursery for nursing mothers

By Roxana Amparo, Editor-in-Chief

Nursing mothers attending Contra Costa College will soon have a space to “pump” their milk in the comfort of a personalized room in the Students and Administration Building.

“It is about creating a space for women to keep up their milk — to pump milk and keep the supply going,” Vice President Tammeil Gilkerson said.

Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks said the Lactation Room will be available next semester, located in SA-124, available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and also available for drop-ins on Saturdays for students taking classes on those days.

Dean of Students Vicki Ferguson said this initiative falls under Title IX, which states that anyone in the U.S., regardless of sex, cannot be denied the benefits or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial aid, which includes a community college.

“It’s all about accessibility for the population of students and for us to be able to provide a place for them to express their milk,” Ferguson said.

Through Title IX, students who are mothers also benefit because they have rights just as any other student, Ferguson said.

The decision to create a space for nursing mothers was made during an Operations Council meeting on Aug. 22 in SA-211.

Members of the committee brought the idea to Nickelson-Shanks to locate a room within the SA Building that could potentially be used as the Lactation Room.

Nickelson-Shanks said he will be supervising the room and scheduling nursing mothers time to use the room out of the Student Life Office for next semester.

“At the moment, people who use (the Lactation Room) are vendors. But we know that there are other students on campus,” Nickelson-Shanks said. “We want everyone to feel comfortable and a mother to have a private place,” he said.

Gilkerson said the population of nursing mothers is small at the college, but there are mothers who will benefit from having a room.

She said the plan to bring a Lactation Room started last spring. The furniture for the room will be donated and it will, of course, be free of charge for mothers to use.

“You want to be relaxed. You don’t want to be doing it in a public restroom,” she said.

Gilkerson said they knew the Liberal Arts Building was going to be unavailable, but were able to find space in the SA Building, which was previously going to be used for storage.

Ferguson said Police Services will have to be contacted to let them into the room on Saturdays.

She said the room will be decorated and given a “nice environment” for the students who are nursing mothers. There will be decorations to give it a calming mood.