Tuesday, 15 September 2009

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Concerning the murder in Verano Place last night. "YOU ARE NOT TO BE BREAKING UP WITH ME IN A PARKING LOT," he shouted. She means what the fuck. Graduate school, it goes without saying, is a stressful time. You spend every waking hour toiling away in a hyper-competitive environment. There is no opportunity to relax because there are no weekends. Holidays are an excuse to do the work your adviser mistakenly believes you already turned in. There are always grant applications and dissertation chapters to be written. You would drown your sorrows, but your university offers you a monthly stipend that is only seven dollars more than the rent in university housing and three bottles of two-buck chuck only go so far. There are conference presentations to write and student papers to grade. Because your stipend barely covers the rent, in addition to everything the university requires of you, there are commitments to other employers to be met. Domestic disturbances in graduate student housing are a common enough occurrence. In addition to the two linked above are the many more I never wrote about: the argument on the landing that ended with a woman on the ground slipping in and out of consciousness, or the Indian couple on the ground floor whose fights began with the slamming of things and bodies and ended with a woman sobbing out an open window. Even knowing all that, the murder in UCI's graduate student housing community last night still shocked me: That's not my old apartment building—mine is immediately to the left. I'm not sure what else to say. Now is not the time to be making larger sociological arguments about income and violence. But there is something to be said about it. For the moment, I'll conclude by offering my condolences to the families and friends of Rebecca Benedict.

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