GSC Wins Day Care Battle
Sydney-Pacific Dorm Will Not House Center, Says ChancellorBy Naveen Sunkavally
The Graduate Student Council earned a victory yesterday when Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 announced that, contrary to earlier plans, there would be no day care center on the first floor of the Sidney-Pacific dormitory.
GSC President Soulaymane Kachani said that the GSC spent a month fighting the day care center, and that as of Sunday Bacow was still in favor of the day care center despite opposition from Dean for Graduate Students Isaac M. Colbert and Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict.
At its monthly meeting this past Wednesday, the GSC passed a motion unanimously voicing opposition to the day care center. The GSC had also crafted a six-step action plan that included widespread protests and talking to the Cambridge Planning Board, Kachani said.
Sham Sokka G, chair of the Sidney-Pacific Crisis Committee formed to address the issue, said at the meeting that having the center would cut down on two-thirds of the community space originally planned on the ground floor for a multi-purpose room, and that the center was unnecessary given the day care centers in Eastgate and Westgate and the one planned for the Stata Center.
Students at the meeting speculated that the idea of the day care center may have come about now instead of last year to ease acceptance of the dormitory by the Cambridge Planning Board. The Board had granted MIT a building permit in December for the dormitory after wrangling with MIT over concerns that the dormitory would turn the surrounding area into a high-traffic neighborhood.
The day care center, which would have been meant for staff outside the dormitory as well as the married students living there, would attract more traffic to the dormitory and cause MIT more problems with the Board -- a situation that could be used as leverage by students, said GSC Chair of Activities Adam Lorenz.
Disagreement over the day care center quickly turned to resentment over the graduate dormitory in comparison to the undergraduate dormitory. “The [graduate] dorm is being built out of debt” with a maximum price of $90 million and will house 750 students, Kachani said at the meeting. In contrast, the undergraduate dormitory is being built for $95 million and will only house about 350 students.
“Why not put [the center] in Simmons Hall? It’s just like day care there anyways,” Sokka said.
On Thursday, however, Bacow said, “There will be no daycare center.” He said that the space would be used for common space, as was originally planned.
“I want to see it in writing,” Kachani said. Kachani said the decision yesterday may have come about as a result of a meeting that morning between Bacow and other senior administrators.
GSC discusses work survey
At its meeting the GSC also released results from the graduate student working survey, for which it received 541 responses, or 9.3 percent of the graduate population.
One major finding of the survey, said organizer Ronak J. Bhatt G, is that, contrary to popular belief, international students do not work a lot harder than other graduate students, although they tend to work more into the night than others.
Other results include the average number of hours worked by teaching assistants and research assistants across different departments. Bhatt said that the full results of the survey will soon be available at