GSAS Enrollment Continues to Decline

News Analysis

There's a rumor going around the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that only two department chairmen have responded to Dean Rosovsky's milestone report on the state and future of graduate education at the University. Although the Dean issued the report about two years ago, this lack of Faculty feedback to Rosovsky's call for immediate community discussion isn't surprising. Administrators and students at the GSAS feel certain that they are already grappling, if not successfully, with the issues Rosovsky raised in his report--the shrinking job market for academics, shrinking funds, and the shrinking school itself.

Rosovsky, on the other hand, has dramatic plans for the institution that carries out the somewhat anachronistic task of training teachers and researchers for jobs that no longer exist. His request for written comments by Faculty members on his several models for the GSAS of the future was supposed to precipitate the kind of discussion that led to Rosovsky's last success-the Core Curriculum. In fact, from all reports, Rosovsky had pegged GSAS reform as his next pet project.

Rosovsky waits, probably in vain, for widespread community exchange. Administrators at the GSAS have little time theoretical discussion as they pursue the much more immediate task of placing nervous students in any respectable job 9be the equivalent of a $14 million program in this country. The Canadian program gives direct subsidies to thousands of low and middle income homeowners to help them slash their fuel bills. The American program of tax incentives benefits only the rich. To take a tax credit, you have to spend money first. Of the less then 10 per cent of Americans who claimed tax credits for conservations purposes, more than 75 per cent were above the median national income, according to government statistics. President Carter's proposal in his economic recovery program for $975 million to weatherize lower and middle income homes is the right step, but it is a drop in the bucket. While the billions spent on synfuels and fusion are not benefitting anyone, a program of home insulation could provide direct and immediate relief for the poor. Such a program would also create thousands of jobs in the faltering home building and construction industries.

The government should split its strategy, giving insulation subsidies to the poor and increasing tax incentives for those above median income. In addition, the Congress should act swiftly to adopt Senator Malcolm Wallop's (R-Wyo.) bill that would increase industrial tax credits for the installation of energy-efficient equipment from 10 to 30 per cent. While they're at it, Congress should also pass the Building Energy Efficiency Performance Standards Act, shelved last year because of enforcement difficulties. The bill would coordinate six federal agencies in the regulation of the building and housing industries.

CONSERVATION MAY make sense, but many people still consider it un-American--including the Republican Party. Americans are used to spending and consuming, not tightening their belts, and Congress has balked at any attempts to place a tax on gasoline in order to reduce consumption. Last spring Yergin proposed a gasoline tax that, no matter how politically impractical, is simpler and more effective than John Anderson's. Yergin proposed a tax that would reach $1 a gallon in five years, with direct rebates to purchasers. According to Yergin's statistics, that would reduce national gasoline consumption by 25 per cent.

Aside from conservation, the government should continue to explore alternative sources that don't pollute and won't provoke community opposition. Some experts believe that hydroelectric power could, with significant technological advances, undergo a renaissance in the Northeast. Solar energy is also in need of research funds. Photovoltaics, the direct conversion of the sun's rays into electricity, is a promising but so far commercially unfeasible technology. Current solar technologies are also valuable, but they require very specific types of construction and building materials. With government tax incentives, however, a solar house does not have to cost any more than a non-solar one, and can save anywhere from 50 to 90 per cent on an average-sized home's energy consumption.


Solar energy, however, is still thought of as the energy source of visionaries and flakes. While synfuels and fusion are celebrated, solar is scoffed at and insulation programs are considered as afterthoughts. This winter there are millions of Americans who could benefit from national insulation and solar development programs. Instead the only ones who will benefit from the national energy policy are the corporations and scientists in the fields of synfuel and fusion