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Grad Students Air
Concerns at Forum
September 20, 1999

The fourth of a series of academic forums to discuss graduate student issues met last Wednesday to offer graduate students an opportunity to discuss issues with representatives from Residential Life and Dining Services, the Institute of Teaching and Learning, Parking Services, Student Affairs, and other units concerned with graduate students. The forum was held in the Konover Auditorium of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

Vicky Triponey, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, began by announcing that the University plans to build graduate and upper-classm en apartments on the Hilltop area of campus. Phase I of the construction is planned to start this winter. The apartments will consist of single rooms and will have adequate parking, and are targeted to open in the fall 2000 semester.

Another plan to address the lack of sufficient graduate housing is the creation of an off-campus housing office, which will have a phone number and location by next spring, to offer students information about housing rights and a renters' directory.

Another major concern for graduate students is parking. Students complained about paying $65 for a lot sticker, and then finding the lot they paid for to be full. Donna Wakeman, director of parking services, responded that the ratio of issued stickers to available parking spaces is 1.8 to 1.

Graduate students also noted that there is no general orientation for them as they arrive on campus. There is a week-long international teaching assistant orientation, but none available for all graduate students.

Administrators encouraged further dialog. Task forces have been created to tackle the issues brought to attention and a follow-up forum will be scheduled before the end of the year.

Robert V. Smith, vice provost for research and graduate education, said the Graduate Student Senate is the most active, supportive organization for graduate students to voice their concerns.

The next meeting of the GSS is Thursday, September 30, at 7 p.m., in Room 200 of the Whetten Center, with meetings at the same time and location on alternate Thursdays following. Before each meeting, at 6:30 p.m., the GSS provides food and a chance to socialize.

Marisha Chinsky