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Sophomores should bend the rules for the right to bare arms (and butts)

Female member of the Class of 2002: Administration, my bathroom is down the hall and sometimes I want to walk there topless. I don't want to have to put on clothes to go to the bathroom. Administration: I don't know. Does anyone on your hall object? >2002: No, no one objects. A: I guess I see nothing wrong with that. (A few days later) 2002: Administration, can I go running around campus topless? A: I'm sorry, you can't. 2002: But my sports bras are uncomfortable. A: Yes, but in our society it is customary for girls not to go topless in public. 2002: Girls go topless on the beach. And in some cultures, the girls go topless all the time. A: We don't live at a beach and we don't live in other cultures. We live in Princeton, N.J., United States of America. 2002: But what if Princeton admitted someone who was from one of those cultures? Would we force our American values upon her? Aren't we supposed to encourage diversity, not discourage it? (Pause.) A: Fine, fine, have it your way. (Several days later) 2002: Administration, I hate wearing pants and underwear. I want to run naked. A: You're pushing it, 2002. 2002: What is the difference between my bottom and my top? A: There is no culture where the girls run around bottomless. 2002: How do you know? There might be. Look, I know I'm a little strange, but that's just who I am. Am I hurting anyone? Am I preventing anyone from getting an education? Students have seen naked women before. A: Okay, okay, go bottomless. (A couple days later) 2002: Administration, about 20 girls in my hall want to run topless with me. You wouldn't want to be giving me any special privileges, would you? A: Fine, fine. Where do you run, by the way? 2002: We do laps around Holder Courtyard. (A week later) 2002: Administration, the girls got their friends to do it, including some guys. Is this okay? A: No. 2002: Why not? A: Guys and girls can't both run naked. 2002: Girls can do it but guys can't? Why discriminate based on gender for no reason? A: But how many people are running? 2002: Two hundred. A: That's way too many. 2002: Why is it too many? You can't give privileges to some people and not give them to other people unless you have a good reason. How would we choose who to exclude? Maybe we should admit people by application or interview, or say that they have to get their course cards signed. A: Fine, fine, just go do your stupid running! (The next day) 2002: Hey, Administration, 200 guys and girls are running naked around Holder Courtyard. I just wanted to thank you for letting us do this. A: That's great. Go away, I'm busy counting my endowment. 2002: This has been our best run yet. The snow makes it much more fun. A: It's snowing? 2002: Yeah, didn't you know? I didn't think the weather should come in the way of our running routine. Funny, you let us do all this stuff, yet I thought last year the administration banned all Nude Olympics-like activity. What we're doing outside looks just like the Nude Olympics to me. A: Then I think we will have to cancel it. 2002: But why should the snow make any difference? If it were three degrees higher it would be raining, so why should three degrees mean — A: Damn you, Class of 2002! (Pause.) Well, at least no one's drinking. 2002: What are you talking about? Of course people are drinking! You thought I would get a bunch of people to run naked without bringing them to Cottage, where the guys behind the bar served us about 10 beers each? A: What? Well, then I must have you all punished at once! 2002: Why? Where does it say people can't run around drunk? I thought the new alcohol policy just said that people can't serve alcohol to anyone who's underage. And since we're all underage, I think you should punish those guys at Cottage. A: But I — 2002: And those girls at Cloister who served us last week. A: But — 2002: And my date for Winter Formals, who gave me a whole bottle of vodka! A: All right, that's enough! Look, I don't know who served you alcohol, but you're all getting a one-year suspension! 2002: Why? I thought you said — A: That's just the way it is. (Pause.) 2002: Administration? A: What do you want? 2002: Can I still walk to the bathroom topless? Zach Pincus-Roth is from Chevy Chase, Md. He can be reached at