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ACU acts to protect kids from campus dangers

The Australian Catholic University has announced a new policy on children on campus that requires staff and students must seek permission if they want to take a child to work.

The university insists the new policy does not ban children on campus. It says the policy was put in place to protect them and the university's legal obligations.

Vice-chancellor Peter Sheehan said the policy was designed to recognise and uphold equity and fairness and supported the welfare of children.

"There certainly was no intent on our part to have any harsh policy," Professor Sheehan said.

Most universities recognise the need for staff or students to bring children to campus occasionally and say requests should be dealt with sympathetically. Fears have arisen from specific incidents including the death of a child playing on a gym treadmill on a Sunday at Sydney University in 1994.

Staff and students at the University of Melbourne, Deakin University in Victoria and the University of Technology, Sydney, for example, also need permission before they bring children to work.

Most universities have their own childcare centres. But a senior ACY manager claims there is no demand for on-campus child care.