GSE Students Ask for Allston Say

Student leaders request membership on Allston task forces

Student leaders at the Graduate School of Education (GSE) say their views have largely been ignored in the Allston planning process, even though their entire campus is slated to move across the river in the next stage of Harvard’s expansion.

On Monday night, the GSE Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously approved a resolution requesting that their representatives be included on the five University task forces charged with hashing out plans for the Allston move.

The SGA resolution adds to previous criticism by Faculty of Arts and Sciences professors who accused the University of a lack of transparency in the Allston planning process during a meeting last month.

The five task forces unveiled by the University in December initially included no student representation. But less than a week later, University President Lawrence H. Summers announced the addition of students from the College to the task force on undergraduate life.

“It’s just very illogical for there not be a student from our school [on the task forces] if our entire campus is going to move to Allston,” said Michael J. Novielli, a GSE master’s student and SGA member who sponsored Monday’s resolution.


“Input from students at GSE should be an essential part of planning for the Ed School’s future,” said GSE master’s student Kirstin C. McCarthy, the SGA’s vice president for student life and social activities.

“The surest way to incorporate that input is through student presence on Allston planning committees and task forces. We feel very confident that the administration will support us in this matter,” McCarthy said.

University spokesperson Lauren M. Marshall said that “GSE students will no doubt be involved as the [Allston] process moves forward.”

“Each of the task forces is reaching out to the broader university community, including students,” Marshall said.

But Novielli said that University officials have not responded to the SGA’s request to place students on the task forces.

The task forces have been meeting since January and will deliver preliminary reports in May.

Novielli, who served for two years as the student council president at Columbia, contrasted Harvard’s approach to the Allston expansion with what he said what his undergraduate alma mater’s aggressive courting of student leaders’ opinions on physical planning issues.

As an undergraduate, Novielli received a personal note from Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger last February inviting him to work with faculty and architectural firms on “developing a comprehensive vision for Columbia’s future.”

Novielli included a copy of Bollinger’s letter in an e-mail SGA sent to Summers Tuesday announcing the resolution.

Bollinger was widely thought to be the frontrunner for Harvard’s presidency in 2001 before Summers was tapped for the job.