Student slams university after being told she can’t take her baby to lectures

Janine Adamson, a 34 year old rebellious mother from Southampton has claimed her 10-week-old son, Tommy, is the UK’s newest student after she overlooked her university’s prohibition and began taking her son to every lecture.

Janine fell pregnant while applying for university and since little Tommy was born in January, she has been strong-minded on not losing valuable time with her new-born. 

Janine had originally scheduled to return to Solent University when Tommy was just two weeks old, but senior staff blocked the move labelling it unsuitable.

However, buoyant Janine has overlooked their instruction and now carries her baby to lectures in a sling. Janine said that it is more about their attachment than a financial decision. She said that Tommy is her baby and she wants him close. She didn’t want to endanger her son’s bond with her because she still wanted an education. She said that she is just trying to balance it all.

The breastfeeding mother-of-three admitted confronting the university left her fearing that she would be kicked off the course but she has now settled into a routine. Janine had already delayed her plans to go to university when she was younger after having her two older children Bradley, now 16, and Maizie, 11 and now they were older she was ready to coming back to education.   

The mother-of-three completed her watch-fixing job through the 2020 lockdown and decided to return to college to study criminal investigation with forensic psychology. Janine said being on furlough during the 2020 lockdown gave her time to reconsider her life. She joined a college access course in social science and humanities in 2020, before starting university for two days a week in October 2021. 

However, when she and partner Owen Roundell-Prince, 25, found out they were expecting a baby she was determined to not let this pregnancy stop any of her plans.  

Janine planned to return to Solent University, with Tommy just two weeks after giving birth in January but senior staff wanted to block the move by calling it unsuitable. 

An email sent to Janine from a senior member of staff said: ‘Having spoken with the criminology team and taken advice from the university more widely, including the Student Hub, I am afraid that our decision remains the same. ‘It is not appropriate for students to bring a baby to class on a regular basis. I appreciate that this is not the outcome you wanted and I am sorry that I’m not able to agree to your request.’ 

Solent University has since claimed they do allow babies and children on campus but requests are approved on a case-by-case basis and are subject to a risk valuation. 

However, Janine emailed the university saying most of her work is done at home and she’s only in class for a couple of hours a week for group discussions. Regardless of the university’s oppositions, the mother-of-three was determined and even shared a TikTok video online of her first day back at university with Tommy. 

The clip went viral with users shouting to praise the mother’s resilience and commitment to attaining her dream.  

Janine said that at first she felt like she wasn’t accepted there in class and she felt like if any noise Tommy made, would get her kicked off the course. She said that at week eight, her son started to be awake a lot more during lessons but because she had been going long enough, she felt more at ease.  

She added that, however, it’s not the same as before. She does feel very lonely. Her friends aren’t the same anymore and she sits alone and does her own thing because Tommy is her main concern now and she is okay with that. 

Janine has described Solent University’s unwillingness to allow her to bring Tommy into university as traumatic as and worse than trying to manage education with motherhood. 

Janine added that she felt like the university wanted to kick her out but there is no policy in place, so she carried going with Tommy irrespective. She asked her professors if they had any issues and they said it was fine. One of them wanted to check with other senior staff and then she got an email telling her that she can’t return with her baby. They said it wasn’t fair on other students.

When her professor told her, Janine just broke down in tears and thought everything she has worked hard for has gone to waste. They kept telling her to emphasis on her retrieval so she just stopped interactive with them and went.

Janine said one professor asked the class if anyone objected to the baby being in the class, but nobody spoke up so she stayed. She explained that they are supporting her now but she feel like it is short term and she feel like eventually she will have to find childcare. But she is hoping something changes by then and said that she take each day as it comes.

Janine hopes that sharing her TikTok video will inspire universities to instrument supportive policies for mothers who would like to bring children to universities. Her video has been viewed more than 1.5million times on TikTok with users full of admiration for the mother. However, some users appeared to back Solent University’s initial unwillingness.

A spokesperson for Solent University said: ‘The University is committed to supporting all students who are parents and permits babies and children on campus. However, the primary function and design of our campus is to provide teaching, learning and support for students. They further said that ‘Babies are currently permitted in class if the student has pre-arranged this and has an agreement from the course team. A risk assessment, that includes health and safety considerations and an understanding of any potential disruptions to learning, is part of the process.

It further says that ‘Babies being on campus are currently managed on a case-by-case basis following discussions between the student (with baby) and course team. Students are encouraged to consider suspension of studies if they have a baby during the academic year. This is in line with maternity policies within the workplace and recognises the demands on new mothers and academic study’.

They concluded that ‘Should a student with a new-born not wish to suspend their studies, a discussion between them and the course team is necessary to establish how this will take place. This has always worked well in the past and we are looking to introduce a policy that will formalise our approach.’

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