Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Grad students voice concerns over parking, teaching at open forum

Published: April 16, 2010
Section: News

Voices: Graduate Representative to the Board of Trustees Scott Motyka (GRAD) discusses the importance of parking on campus for graduate students at Monday’s forum.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Ingrid Schulte/The Hoot</i>Three graduate students peppered President Jehuda Reinharz and other administrators with questions about parking, Teaching Assistants (TA) and stipends at an open forum Monday meant as a “conversation” between both groups.

“This is not a speech by me or any other administrator,” Reinharz said to the audience of three.

“This is a chance for people to talk to us.”

Graduate Representative to the Board of Trustees Scott Motyka told administrators that graduate students were largely happy with Brandeis, but complained about the availability of parking spaces.

Motyka said that though he has a parking pass, there is no guarentee he will be able to find a space on campus if he arrives on-campus later in the day.

Motyka suggested the university raise parking rates for graduate students from $60 a year to $100 a semester in order to decrease the number of students parking on campus. In return, he said the university should use the extra money to help subsidize a van service to the Riverside T stop.

“That way you use the carrot and stick method,” he said.

Dawn Nelson (GRAD) disagreed, saying she would be willing to pay $100 a year, but that $100 a semester was too much money.

Motyka also complained about the lack of teaching opportunities for graduate students and suggested that graduate students be given the opportunity to waive two of the six classes they are currently required to TA if they develop and teach a class on their own.

“Being a TA doesn’t really mean much,” he said. “We’d like to have the opportunity to teach other things than [University Writing Seminars].”

Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe said he liked the idea because it could “help diversify the undergraduate curriculum while strengthening the graduate programs,” but said the decision to implement the change would have to be based upon the needs of specific departments.

Motyka asked Reinharz to consider distributing graduate students’ 10-month stipends over the course of 12 months in order to help students budget their money.

“Stipends are a big deal for us,” he said, “The problem is students spend most of their money during the academic year and forget to include the summer in their budget. Having this option would help them.”