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Stadium should accomodate mothers with infants

Nate Pollock | Tuesday, September 23, 2003

At the end of each Notre Dame football game, win or lose, the students link arms and invoke “Notre Dame, our Mother.” You won’t find many mothers of young children swaying in the graduate student section or in any section of the Stadium for that matter. A mother who naively assumes that her infant child will be allowed into the Stadium with them for the game will be turned away. It is a story repeated at every Notre Dame football game. A mother or father of an infant child calmly walks up to the ticket taker with their infant in their arms (or in a baby carrying pouch). The parent presents his or her ticket to the man at the gate only to be asked were the baby’s ticket is. This question is first met with surprise. “You’re telling me my baby needs a ticket, but she is three months old? You can’t be serious; I’ll be holding her the whole time.” The dejected, frustrated, angry,and perhaps saddened parent is forced to retreat from the Stadium. As one would imagine, this experience stirs up a range of reactions. It is highly probable that at some point during the long trek from the Stadium back to the car the dejected mother says to herself, “But I thought Notre Dame was supposed to be a family-friendly place.”What possible rationale does Notre Dame have for keeping infants out of the Stadium unless they are in possession of a full price ticket? Even airlines, who do not all claim to be family-friendly, don’t charge children under the age of one who fly with their parents. The only justification for Notre Dame’s anti-baby policy offered by the ticket office is that babies will take up space and inconvenience the people sitting in adjacent seats. Anyone who has recently spent time around a new mother knows that the baby does not take up much space. When they are not carrying their babies, modern mothers usually “wear” the baby in a sling or front pack. With baby attached, mothers usually take up less space than they did when they were pregnant. The ticket office would do a better job conserving space if they charged obese people double.I write this letter because I believe that Notre Dame is a family-friendly place. When I found out about this policy and mentioned it to other students, they were all shocked. I urge you to talk to your student government representatives about changing this policy so out of line with the mission of Notre Dame. Let us urge Notre Dame, Our Mother, to welcome into the Stadium the mothers of Notre Dame.

Nate Pollockthird year law studentSept. 22