Student mom faces housing challenges

Amber McKenna

Features editor 

Junior Darcy Thompson goes to class every morning, makes appearances at sorority meetings and works at a movie store in town.

She appears to be like any other Linfield student, except for one thing: Thompson is the mother of a 5-month-old baby boy and lives with her son off campus.

“I miss being close to everybody on campus, but that’s not my world anymore,” Thompson said.

After getting pregnant last spring, Thompson took a leave of absence in the fall, and spent time at home in Eastern Oregon preparing for her baby and learning about motherhood. She gave birth to Tristan Jay on Sept. 26.

As she registered for classes and prepared to return this semester, housing was the ultimate necessity for her and her newborn. For this, she turned to Jeff Mackay, associate dean of students and director of residence life.

Because there is no family housing available on campus, Mackay suggested Twin Oak Estates and Columbia Village, two apartment complexes located near Fellows Road, both fairly close to campus. Thompson applied, and is now a resident in a two bedroom, one bathroom, second-story apartment in Tall Oaks Estates.

“It is cheaper than living in the (Hewlett Packard Park Apartments), but with those, everything is included,” Thompson said. “I have no cable or Internet.”

Mackay said Linfield has not offered on-campus family housing since the early 1970s.

“Dana Hall was family housing as a result of (married) males coming back from the Vietnam War,” Mackay said. “There was a need.”

He said the need to provide housing for married students or students with children no longer exists, and inquiries for this type of housing are extremely rare. If family housing was to become a relevant need, a residence building would have to be designated for that specific use.

Mackay said in a case like Thompson’s he asks students living off campus for recommendations, and suggests residences close by with a family atmosphere and a positive environment for a single mom.

Thompson is taking a full credit load and has a schedule that includes the help of a friend who watches the baby while she is in class and at work at Reel Hollywood Video.

She said at first she worried about being away from her son while she was away, but is gradually adjusting.The apartment is quaint and does not yet contain much furniture, but it is home for this mom and baby.

Thompson said she still feels like a normal college student.“I just have a kid,” she said. “I don’t feel like a mom; I just feel like Darcy.”

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