We are helping to circulate this petition in solidarity with those at UW-Oshkosh and in the wider community. Please sign and help to circulate. Thank you.



Dear Chancellor Leavitt,

In light of the recent announcement of the decision to close the UW Oshkosh Children’s Learning and Care Center, we ask:

1.  That the Children’s Learning and Care Center (CLCC) will remain open until July 1, 2024, both to grant time to families in need of its services, and to plan the next steps for its restructuring.
2.  That you will have an open forum by June 1, 2023 dedicated to this single issue to discuss how the issues at the CLCC were handled from 2020 until this semester, and to hear directly from the voices in the community that are in support of the center.  This forum should be in-person with an online option.  
3.  That you authorize the creation of a task force made up of faculty, staff, and community members to work collaboratively with the community on and off campus in order to save the CLCC and solve its fiscal issues together. 
4.  That you acknowledge how this closure disproportionately affects women who are most often the ones to leave their jobs, take pay cuts, drop to part time work, or otherwise sacrifice their earnings, time, and health to take care of children when affordable and reliable child care is not available.


The sudden closure of the CLCC is a shock to the people who directly rely on it, and the way this decision was made was abrupt and insensitive. The issues at the CLCC must have been known to the upper administration at UW Oshkosh for well over a year–not mere months. Parents and staff alerted leaders about ongoing issues at the CLCC without resolution. There were many opportunities in the last two years to address the financial losses and staffing issues at the CLCC. It appears that the CLCC’s issues were not prioritized even though childcare is a critical piece of infrastructure in our community. This decision was made without giving the campus community an opportunity to find solutions. Overall there has been a troubling lack of transparency with stakeholders.

Together, we are writing to you as educators, student-teachers, parents, grandparents, healthcare workers, small-business owners, and community members to express how the closing of the CLCC impacts us all. Quality childcare is an essential component of a thriving university and local economy. The closure of the CLCC will cause a ripple effect throughout the local economy, with broader societal implications regarding how we value children and families. If the CLCC closes on June 30, 2023, some of us will be pushed out of the workforce entirely. Others will not have that option, and will instead have to piecemeal childcare, often at the expense of the quality of care and the safety of children. Though it might be tempting to conclude that only the families of the presently enrolled children will be affected, the center has contributed to the health and success of hundreds of families in our community over its decades of history, and it can contribute to hundreds more.


Additionally, the closing of the CLCC erodes the reputation of UW Oshkosh. Universities need to maintain strong relations with the community to function successfully in a competitive market. Once lost, a good reputation is hard to rebuild. We understand that the CLCC is a business, but childcare does not have to be a failed business. Quality care can co-exist with a sustainable business model.

There is a crisis of childcare in our community. Many are scrambling to find care for children displaced by the CLCC’s closure because childcare centers within the Fox Valley have waitlists of months and even years. If the task force can resolve the staffing concerns, the CLCC could run at full capacity. In the same way that UW Oshkosh students are required to take their classroom knowledge out into the broader community, we can marshal our academic strengths to tackle this problem. The proposed task force can tap into resources like the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Services to work with community stakeholders over the coming year. The staffing crisis is solvable. We must offer educators a competitive salary with good benefits to recruit talent. If we do that, we can restore our community leadership and demonstrate the value of education in solving real-world problems. We have deep confidence that our collective intellectual, social, and creative capital can and will find a solution that champions the UW Oshkosh campus and the broader community.

The current childcare crisis costs Wisconsin nearly two billion dollars every year in lost productivity. The mission statement of UW Oshkosh dedicates us to economic development, entrepreneurship, and community engagement to create a more sustainable future for Wisconsin. This is a powerful opportunity for UW Oshkosh to fulfill its mission, and for you to show your leadership to us, the region, and the state of Wisconsin.


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