Harvard has so much money that it now has even more money. It may be that having a lot of money actually makes it harder to spend the money on anything useful because more regulation gets attached to this money, but I'm not at all sure how this works, so if you know, enlighten me. Surely though, some of this ever-expanding pot of gold can be used to improve the sad lot of Harvard's poor TFs.
First World Problems, I know. It's fine to point out that every Harvard (grad) student rests his head every night on a soft pillow embroidered with gold and sprinkled with myrrh, compared with the poor serfs at Berkeley and SUNY-Somewhere, who must chop their own firewood and huddle together in stone huts with dirt floors to stay warm, so Harvard students should never complain about anything. Ok. But until Harvard starts sub-donating its donations to these needy places, it's going to use its money for its own purposes, and I see nothing wrong with trying to improve its judgment in selecting these purposes. What I don't see though is how capping sections at 12 students per is a solution to any problem. What's magical about 12 students? In a particularly shallow course, 12 can be a problem b/c few people do the reading. (Even at places with gold-embroidered myrrh pillows!) Above 18, they tend not to fit in a single room, so that's no good. But while smaller may be generally better, it seems odd for the GSC to seize on this magical number of 12 for its main goal.
The real problem is not the difference between 12 and, say, 15 students in a section, but the weird precariousness of teaching assignments. Out of some deeply-ingrained habit, Harvard does not have course pre-registration, which means that no one knows how many students will register for any given course until two weeks into the semester. This in turn means that no one knows how many TFs the course will require until the same time. So grad students are left uncertain about what they're teaching until pretty much the day they have to show up to teach it, if not later. There is some consistency in course enrollments over the years of course, but less than you'd expect, and a fluctuation of even 25 students is all it takes to either fire someone who'd been counting on that course or necessitate an extra (unprepared) TF at the last minute. This is a much bigger problem than having a 13th student wander in.
But, good news: this problem is easily solved! By pre-registration! Earth to GSC! Every other school does it. It benefits not only the grad students who have to plan their entire semester's housing and living around the current tenuous non-guarantee of teaching income, but also the faculty who presumably would also like to know whether they will be lecturing to 20 or 200 students next term. Since I don't know that pre-registration would even require dipping into the heaving Harvard money pot to hand out some dregs to grad students, if there are dregs still left to allocate after it's implemented, Harvard might consider addressing the problem of Cambridge's extremely high rent by either giving grad students more moneyz to pay it, or subsidizing more neighborhood buildings for grad student housing.
Or, you know, they could throw all the money into building this totally redundant new "student center" which, according to the survey I was sent, may feature such amenities as video games and chiropractors. I frankly can't understand how university students have survived so long without the essential educational services of chiropractors. In what was surely an accidental oversight soon to be corrected, however, no "nap space" was proposed.