Graduate Council Demands Better Advising

Graduate students need better advising and safer transportation to off-campus graduate residences, representatives from the Graduate Student Council (GSC) told President Neil L. Rudenstine at their annual meeting yesterday.

After the meeting, the GSC representatives said they were, on the whole, pleased with the progress of their discussions with Rudenstine.

"[Rudenstine and other administrators] were very positive about investigating the options," said Carlos Lopez, a seventh-year graduate student, non-resident tutor in Adams House and president-elect of the GSC for next year.

Lopez said Rudenstine was "enthusiastic" about a report on graduate advising which the GSC is in the process of writing. According to Lopez, this meeting was the first time the GSC discussed advising issues with Rudenstine in depth.

Related to the issue of advising, the GSC also discussed improving the availability of University Health Services' mental health treatments. Partly to deal with this issue, GSAS recently approved funding for the Bureau of Study Council to hire one staff counselor specializing in graduate students next year.


Safe and affordable transportation also featured high on the graduate student's agenda.

According to Elgin K. Eckert, a second-year graduate student and current GSC acting president, the University is discussing the possibility of making the discount T-pass system a University-wide, operation. Currently, the system, which allows students an 11 percent discount on T-passes, is a small operation run by the GSC for graduate students only.

With this semester being the last that the Home Run shuttle--a University-run shuttle which took graduate students to their doorsteps in Somerville and North Cambridge--will operate, GSC has been looking for an alternative mode of transportation for graduate students. The group is advocating extending regular shuttle service to Davis and Inman Squares.

The GSC also discussed affordable housing and improved athletic facilities with Rudenstine. According to Elgin, the prices of University housing--including developments like Peabody Terrace and Holden Green--is competitive with the Cambridge market, but few graduate students can afford market prices.

Elgin added, however, that a positive note in the meeting was the "close to definite" decision to preserve Hemenway Gym, the athletic facility used most frequently by GSAS students. Hemenway will not be converted into an office building to house the Undergraduate Admissions office.

While the talks seemed promising, Lopez said, most of the issues are still under consideration.

"If...what is being said [at the meeting] has concrete results, then the meeting will have been successful," Lopez said