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Sunday is National Hugging Day, a day for everyone throughout this great nation to lock in one collective platonic embrace. But one couple you will not see cuddling this weekend is the University administration and its bastard child, the graduate school. Though this year marks the centennial of Princeton's graduate school, the administration continues to enact bureaucratic measures that threaten to distance itself from the graduate student body, ensuring that this one little snuggle will never transpire.

Of course, it's hard to snuggle with anyone when you don't even have enough space in your dorm room to move your arms. The administration's latest decision, to limit habitable spaces in the Graduate College to no more than 38 square feet, makes living space, quite ironically, unlivable. Also, the University's pending proposal to replace the fireproof mattresses with sheets of razor blades seems a bit dogmatic for an institution claiming to celebrate its century-old relationship with graduate students.


Other measures threaten further irreparable damage to the graduate student-administration relationship. By deciding to peg graduate student salaries to the Thai Bhat, the University has embarked upon a capitalist starvation campaign that will decimate not only our morale, but our standard of living. I understand the administration must conserve its $8-billion endowment with the utmost judiciousness, but it could at the very least tie our monthly pay to a more practical currency, such as the euro or ruble.

Another offensive administrative mandate was issued just this past Monday when the D-Bar's liquor license was officially revoked, and the University demanded that it be converted into a smoothie bar. Instead of discussing postmodernist theory into the wee hours over a pint of Guinness, we will now be forced to ponder the virtues of environmental preservation over a glass of mango-papaya passion. The University's decision not only undermines our physical maturity — there isn't a graduate student outside of the math department under the age of 21 — but also disregards the simple fact that most of us have been allowed to drink since pre-pubescence in our countries of origin. As consolation for this egregious violation of personal liberty, the administration plans to maintain a steady supply of breath mints and chewing gum, hardly substantial compensation for such a rank new requirement.

Speaking of gums, hot damn! I'd be lying if I said they weren't bleeding the life out of me right now. Since the University revoked all forms of dental care coverage for graduate students last month, I have been forced to brush my teeth with shards of glass and pure baking soda. Of all the administration's transgressions, this is perhaps its greatest misdeed. It's hard enough to speak English with a full set of teeth. You try saying "existential malcontent" without your incisors.

These injustices will not stand. I encourage graduate students and undergraduates alike to attend a rally for justice this afternoon in Firestone plaza at 3 p.m. Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader '55 will rant tangentially, and recycling bins will be abundant for registered voters to cast their ballots for the 2004 election. Until then, I'll be looking for a hug and a can of creamed corn. S. Karthick Harikrishnan is a politics graduate student originally from Holden, Mass., who has since lived in every state of the union, attending baseball games in every professional stadium from Class-A ball all the way up to the major leagues. An active member in 89 campus groups, he likes long, romantic walks on the beach on starry nights as well as the latest Sting single, "Desert Rose." He can be reached at