Essential to Yale graduate students, HGS should be renovated and not commandeered

To the Editor:

I write in response to Noah Lawrence’s editorial “HGS offers best location for new colleges” (11/4), in which he suggests using the Hall of Graduate Studies as a location for two new residential colleges. “HGS,” Lawrence writes, “could do more good as undergraduate housing than it does as a graduate building now. The HGS real estate has specific value for undergraduates, as it adjoins the undergraduate campus.” What he forgets, however, is that what he calls the “undergraduate campus” is not the exclusive domain of one segment of the Yale community. Central Campus, from the Sterling Memorial Library to the Whitney Humanities Center, is an essential part of graduate student life as well.

Mr. Lawrence also claims that “graduate students can feel unified anywhere on campus — in HGS as much as on Prospect Street [the currently proposed sight for the two new colleges].” Here, I think the problem is the perception that Yale is essentially an institution for undergraduate studies rather than a university where undergraduate, graduate and professional students; professors and other researchers; and clerical and custodial workers are all part of the same rich academic community. That is, Yale University as an institution is many different things to many different people, and the physical layout of campus should reflect that diversity.

As the Yale campus expands and the number of undergraduate students increases, it is important that the needs of all segments of Yale University be taken into account. Graduate housing and office space already require expansion and improvement in order to meet current demands. The Hall of Graduate Studies is a beautiful gothic building, celebrating its 75th year as a part of the Yale campus, and yet there are no plans to refurbish it with modern amenities, or even adequate plumbing and heating systems. In fact, graduate students will have to wait until after the renovation of Morse and Stiles, and the possible construction of two new colleges, before these issues can be addressed.

In all the discussion about new building projects and the debate about new residential colleges, too little attention has been paid to the effect that such changes will have on graduate students and how they might be better integrated into campus life for the benefit of everyone who calls this university home.

Nicholas Goodbody

Nov. 5

Goodbody is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He is the publicity chair for the Graduate Student Assembly.

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