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Graduate Student Council does represent students' opinions (2)

This letter is in response to the statements of Carolyn D. Ruppel G about the Cambridge and Somerville Alcoholism Rehabilitation (CASPAR) shelter ["GSC not representative," Nov. 2]. Ruppel states, "I find it hard to believe that my constituency is concerned about this issue or that anyone outside MIT really cares about the Graduate Student Council's opinion on this matter," and that it is an "irrelevant matter."

I ask Ruppel to ask her constituency (graduate students in the Department Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences) whether they have an opinion on the matter. Some of them do. One thousand students have signed a petition asking that MIT renew CASPAR's lease. Many of these are members of her department.

Perhaps a survey of the department would better acquaint her with general opinions. Preliminary responses from a survey of biology graduate students by their GSC representatives indicate they unanimously support the resolution.

Her claim that no one outside MIT cares about the GSC's opinion on this matter is simply not true. A resolution is a show of support and makes a big difference to the people running the shelter (as shelter workers have stated). City and administrative officials also have taken note of this resolution as an indication of how graduate students, as members of the MIT community, feel about this issue.

Even if those outside MIT did not care, the role of the GSC is to address MIT policies that concern graduate students, and this is such an issue by the simple fact that the shelter is located on MIT property.

MIT is largely supported by public funds; it does not exist in a vacuum. It is completely appropriate for the MIT community to address social issues and strive for social responsibility. And the GSC and Undergraduate Association Council meetings are reasonable forums for the discussion of social issues.

Rosina Samadani G->