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Less than grad-ified

Graduate students and the University administration clashed this semester when the graduate school limited access to the Debasement Dar — or D-Bar — located in the basement of the Graduate College.

In February, the graduate school began to enforce the terms of the D-Bar's club liquor license, which dictates that every person served at the bar must be a club member.


Club members were defined as only those students who live at the Graduate College. Of the more than 2,000 graduate students, only about 500 actually live at the college.

To keep the bar open to all graduate students, Graduate College residents passed a constitutional amendment Feb. 16 to extend club membership to all graduate students, thereby allowing non-residents of the Graduate College to legally enter the D-Bar without having to sign in as guests.

Despite the amendment, however, graduate school officials re-affirmed their decision to prohibit entrance to graduate students who were not accompanied by a resident of the college.

Protest from graduate students was loud and nearly instantaneous.

The two bar managers — or bar czars — resigned to protest the administration's decision, and the house committee, the governing body of the Graduate College, decided to close the D-Bar.

The next week, a throng of more than 50 graduate students filed into Nassau Hall to demand meetings with graduate school deans to discuss the new restrictions.


Before descending on Nassau Hall, graduate students gathered in a lecture hall to discuss a proposal by the house committee and the graduate school administration to incrementally increase the number of graduate students with access to the D-Bar.

The plan called for increasing the number of graduate students with access to the bar by 200 on April 16 and 100 on May 16. By Sept. 1, all graduate students would have access to the bar.

Many graduate students spoke out against accepting the proposal, but House Committee chair Adrian Banner GS advised them to support the compromise with the University. Even so, he expressed frustration with the entire episode. "[The administrators] move on a geological time scale," he said. "I can assure you the deans cannot justify what they have done."

Former Bar Czar Amlan Majumdar GS said in an interview that he did not believe the bar should be reopened until the University offered D-Bar access to all graduate students. "I think it's discrimination against grad students," he said. "It's a slap in the face."

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Despite negative sentiments from some graduate students, the house committee and deans of the graduate school came to an agreement on the incremental-increase policy March 15.

The bar elected two new bar czars March 20. Alexandre Mas GS, one of the new czars, said he accepted the decision, though he had some reservations.

The house committee started to distribute membership stickers to non-residents of the college April 16. According to Banner, only about 30 students had signed up for stickers as of May 15.

"As it turned out, there wasn't a huge number who signed up anyway," Banner said. "We are expecting more people to sign up next semester."

"I still hope that one day things will change to open it up to all grad students," he added.

Mas said the main problem is the lack of trust between Graduate College residents and the administration.

"There has been real trouble in the past, and the key is to keep things going steadily now to regain the trust that I think has been broken," he said.