GSC welcomes 1450 new graduate studentsBy Harold A. Stern
Ceremonies welcoming the 1450 newly admitted graduate students were held in Kresge Auditorium yesterday. Approximately 450 students attended the event, which was organized by the Graduate Student Council (GSC).
President Paul E. Gray '54 addressed the audience, as did Dean for Student Affairs Shirley M. McBay, Dean of Graduate Schools Frank E. Perkins '55 and GSC President Janine M. Nell G.
Gray urged the graduate students to get better acquainted with faculty members. The main objective as a graduate student, according to Gray, should be to get to know several professors very well as "colleagues."
Perkins and McBay spoke of the facilities available to the graduate students through the respective Dean's offices. Perkins highlighted the differences between graduate and undergraduate classes. Professors who teach graduate subjects expect the students to learn more on their own, he said.
McBay also informed the students of the services, such as campus escorts and professional counseling, which are offered to students from outside the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs (ODSA).
All three speakers urged the entering students to explore the social activities outside of the laboratories and research groups. Nell emphasized this, saying that "a common sentiment about graduate life at MIT is that it is an isolated experience."
Nell spoke of priorites facing the GSC in the upcoming year in an interview with The Tech. One problem which the the council has been attempting to deal with is housing of graduate students.
"A very low percentage of graduate students live on campus," Nell said. The number of rooms available is "much less than demand," and there is a long waiting list for available space.
The problem exists for married as well as single living quarters, she added.
In a 1980 survey of graduate students, 50 percent of those surveyed indicated a desire to live on-campus. At that time, however, there was only enough space to house 30 percent of the graduate population, Nell said.
The primary reason for the lack of adequate graduate student housing is a lack of funds available to construct new buildings, she explained. "We have to find money, but where will it come from?"
The MIT administration has established a fund for this purpose. But the fund is "growing very slow rate" and it will be a very long time before a housing project might be started, Nell explained.
Among the other options available is a proposal to eliminate the current policy of allowing graduate students who are given campus housing to remain indefinitely, Nell stated. This would "limit the number of years that students can remain in an Institute house," she added.
Limiting admissions to graduate schools is not possible, Nell said, because "each department decides, on its own, how many graduate students they can afford to support." Until students complain to faculty members in their departments about conditions, she explained, they will have no incentive to change things. "The faculty members do not realize the severity of the problem."
Other priorities of the GSC are the completion of the Rights and Responsibilities for Graduate Students and the allocation of $40,000 given to the council by the ODSA. The allocation was an increase of $15,000 over last year's budget. McBay was "instrumental" in arranging for the increase, Nell said.
Anne St. Onge G, former GSC treasurer, attributed the increase to the need for funds for the Graduate Student News and an activities commission, which supported outside graduate student activities as well as those sponsored by the GSC. "We have demonstrated [to the Dean's Office] an obvious need for it."
Graduate student activities must submit budget packets to the GSC by Sept. 23, according to Nell, if they wish to receive funding for the fall semester.