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GSAS Students Protest Rule Limiting Teaching to 4 Years

By Peter R. Melnick

Students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences plan to meet this afternoon to protest a rule that limits the length of time GSAS students may work as teaching fellows to four years, curtailing those students' sources of income.

Jean L. Bruneau, chiarman of the Department of Comparative Literature, said yesterday Harvard passed the role more than ten years ago, when there was a surplus of teaching fellows in the GSAS.

Short on Teachers

The GSAS student body is smaller by roughly 50 per cent now and there is a shortage of teaching fellows, he said.

Many departments will have to employ fellows from outside the University to replace current tutors and section leaders as they reach the four year limit, which is unfair to the GSAS students who rely on their teaching income, Bruneau said.

William J. Lewis, a GSAS student who organized today's meeting, said yesterday he had expected Dean Rosovsky to change the rule this year because of the GSAS's reduced size.


Panayote E. Dimitras, chairman of the GSAS Student Council, said yesterday that in some academic departments there is "no way that a student can complete his dissertation" with only four years as a teaching fellow.

Dimitras said he estimates 15 per cent of all GSAS students presently employed as teaching fellows will reach the four year limit at the end of this term.

In response to student objections to the rule, five departments--Comparative Literature, Economics, English, Government and History of Science--sent letters to Rosovsky last month, stating their willingness to suspend the four year limit.

Rosovsky and the Academic Council decided, however, to uphold the rule, Peter S. McKinney, acting dean of the GSAS, said last week in a letter to the five departments.

Neither Rosovsky not McKinney were available for comment yesterday.

Unless Rosovsky changes his mind, many of the grad students will have to drop out of the GSAS for financial reasons, Dimitras said yesterday.

There is an inconsistency in the philosophy behind the rule, Lewis said. The rule should discourage students from taking an excessively long time to write their dissertations but it may actually have the opposite effect, as grad students take lower paying work-study jobs after the four years, he said.

The meeting will take place at 4 p.m. in Boylston Hall

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