Let's face it--we all live in a different world right now, and considering we're in the middle of a global pandemic, concessions are often needed. One mom taking online classes didn't get that luxury, however, when her professor refused to let her turn her camera off to nurse her daughter during class.
We're all aware that life is different, and since so much of our world is online, how we do life these days is different too.
Marcella Mares is a new mom who was taking classes online through Fresno City College in California. Like many of us who need to do 'life' online thanks to a pandemic, she didn't think it would be a problem for her to nurse her daughter Olivia, who was almost 1, with her camera turned off while listening to the lecture her math professor gave.
In an interview with TODAY Parents, Marcella says that the professor insisted cameras and microphones were on for the nearly four hours of consecutive math instruction. In September, she emailed her professor alerting him to the fact that she'd need to turn her camera off for just a bit while she nursed her daughter, but would still be listening to the lecture and taking notes.
His response? According to Marcella, he told her that she should either nurse 'on her own time' or 'after class,' but definitely not during class.
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(Should we remind the professor that Marcella WAS on her own time and it was HER money that was paying HIS salary while she CHOSE to use her time to listen to him? Probably would be lost on him anyway...)
She couldn't believe that response, as she didn't understand why she simply couldn't turn the camera off for the short time she needed to feed her daughter, but she was even more humiliated when he made an announcement to the entire class.
He told the class that he'd received a "...really weird email from a student stating that she needed to do inappropriate things during class time," and he went on to tell them that they needed to be 'creative' with their children and accommodate them so students could pay attention to his lectures.
Obviously, Marcella knew the announcement was about her and furious, she emailed him and asked about how 'his rules' matched to the 'school's rules' against breastfeeding (as Title IX Civil Rights empower her TO nurse). He told her he was just following syllabus guidelines.
Marcella, her husband, a cousin and a friend helped contact the school's Title IX coordinator to help gain support for her nursing 'while at school.' Title IX protections are most often known to protect people in sports situations, but it also offers protection for pregnant and breastfeeding women at any school that receives federal funding. Marcella's school does, indeed, receive that federal funding. Professors at those schools need to allow time for pumping or breastfeeding, and even protects moms who need time off for prenatal appointments, bed rest or additional time due to pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Marcella shared her professor's response and email with Fresno's Title IX Coordinator and low and behold, he apologized to her and gave her permission to nurse her baby when she needed, and to turn the microphone and camera off when needed to do so. How nice of him to follow the law.
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Marcella said she was embarrassed to hear her professor describe breastfeeding as 'inappropriate'.
Fresno City College responded to TODAY Parents with a statement that said a professor wasn't 'aware of the law that pertained to breastfeeding, but now he did and that he'd contacted the student to let her know he was incorrect and she could turn her camera off to nurse.'
Seriously, though? Human DECENCY wouldn't have done that? Why does it take an administrative intervention to prevent someone from exerting what little authority one thinks he has over another's right to FEED THEIR CHILD?
Come on, people. We can do better.
Marcella hopes this raises awareness for other moms looking to better themselves and we applaud her for sharing.
Image: Marcella Mares/Facebook