Vest discusses grad funding
By Lakshmana Rao
Speaking at Tuesday's full council meeting of the Graduate Student Council, President Charles M. Vest hinted at the use of a "multi-agency approach" to secure more funding to support graduate students at MIT.
"The National Science Foundation is working on the establishment of a traineeship program which will be supported by a number of [federal] agencies," Vest said.
He also said that the federal government must respond to the end of the Cold War by creating new ways to fund research. "We are trying to build on the end of [the] Cold War theme," he said.
About 10 years ago, the federal government established funds to back defense-related research, Vest said. "It is [now] timefor the government to establish something like a National Competitiveness Education Act or the National Peace Education Act so as to channelize the funding for research in the next decade."
Vest said he is spending a considerable time lobbying senators and congressmen for support for these ideas.
Dean of the Graduate School Frank E. Perkins '55, who also attended the meeting, said he has been asked by former Provost John M. Deutch '61 to prepare a report on the "financial implications" of having graduate students who are writing their theses pay reduced tuition.
At present, all graduate students have to pay full tuition while writing their theses, even if they are not taking any classes.
Speaking on the issue of graduate housing, Vest said, "The Planning Office is working on formulating an institutional policy on real estate development
in order to provide guidance on providing more housing for all members of the Institute, including students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff. This report should be ready within six months."
Also at the meeting, the GSC discussed a referendum it is considering for Registration Day of the spring term.
The referendum will poll graduate students before amending some sections of its constitution. One section under consideration is the option of giving a one-
year tenure period for all its representatives.
According to the present rules, a GSC representative holds his position from the time of appointment until graduation.
Vest also responded to the GSC and Undergraduate Association request that students have more control over how students are chosen for Institute committees. Currently, faculty committee members select students from a list of nominees drawn up by students.
The present rules of the Faculty Policy Committee, which determines how students are appointed to committees, are adequate and do not need to be changed, Vest felt.
He said there is no evidence that the present system of appointing students to Institute committees has failed. He added that he is inclined to maintain and enhance student input into the committees.
Vest also commented on the Albany Street shelter for the homeless. He said he is negotiating with the city of Cambridge on the issue, and does not know when it will be resolved.
MIT has leased the land on which the three-trailer shelter stands rent-free to the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation (CASPAR) since 1979. Last summer, the Institute turned down CASPAR's request for a long-term lease, which would have enabled CASPAR to build a permanent house for the shelter.