DENVER (CBS4) – A nursing mom says she was penalized for taking breaks from her Metro State College class to pump breast milk. She brought her complaint to the college and now a new policy is in the works.
A 2008 Colorado law actually protects working moms, making it mandatory that they have a place to pump in the workplace. The law doesn’t protect students.
At Metro State College there are designated areas for nursing moms, but no policy in place to protect nursing students.
Manige Osowski is a senior studying genders and sexuality as well as human services. Last semester she gave birth to Mela, but still made school a priority. She only missed one day of class.
“I brought her to school right away. I just breast fed her in class,” Osowski told CBS4.
That worked until Mela got too big to be in school. Osowski said she got approval from the teacher to leave the four-hour class when she needed to pump her breast milk.
“He said to go ahead and take care of myself, and if I needed to pump to go ahead and do that, and that was all that he said,” Osowski said.
At the end of the semester, Osowski found out that that same teacher had been deducting participation points from her grade for every time she left class.
“When I confronted the professor he said, ‘Well, it was your choice to go pump.’ And it’s not a choice, once you commit to breast feed that is a necessity,” Osowski said.
Metro State College has three lactation rooms on campus, but no an actual policy for students and faculty.
“The college was recently made aware that we need to have a policy,” said Steve Monaco, Director of the Health Center of Auraria.
The college is working on a policy that they hope to have in place by the fall. A draft version of the policy allows a pumping session after two hours of class time. It states that “a faculty member will not penalize student for absence from class.”
Osowski can appeal her grade with the college, and she says she will.
“I was never told I’d be missing points, I was never told I wouldn’t be able to make them up,” Osowski said.
– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith