December 17, 2010
Peeing in Harvard's Lamont Library: 36 Urine-Soaked LGBT Books Result of a Clumsy Library Staffer, Not Evidence of a Hate Crime
That's the nutshell conclusion of Harvard University PD's investigation reported by The Harvard Crimson. "Though Harvard College Queer Students and Allies Co-Chair Marco Chan '11 expressed relief that the damage was the result of an accident and not a targeted act of homophobia, he said that he remained concerned by facts of the incident that remain unexplained."
Facts: (1) reports indicate the LGBT stacks where this incident occurred are located in an isolated section of the library; (2) the men's restroom is so far away that there have been problems with male students using the nearby women's restroom; and (3) two hate crimes were reported on Harvard campus earlier this semister, an assault on an undergraduate by people shouting homophobic slurs and anti-gay graffiti in a graduate dorm.
Questions: (1) why would someone place (hide?) an open container of urine behind a row of books in the LBGT collection where it could be accidentally tipped over by a library staffer instead of putting it in some other section in the stacks; and (2) the container of urine, once spilled, damaged 36 books beyond repair, so that's no small amount of pee, right.
ATL's Elie Mystal says it best at Are Urine-Soaked Harvard Books Evidence of A Hate Crime?:
This whole thing is beyond stupid. Somebody peed on some books and it’s a “hate crime” until we find out that somebody peed in a cup and placed the cup next to some books, and that makes it just a “prank” — the dumbest prank in the history of the world.
You know what would be far more simple? FIND THE GUY WHO PEED IN THE LIBRARY. Can HUPD focus on that, please?
Find the person and, perhaps, the above questions can be answered. [JH]
I'm not sure what I think about this story. I would not make the hasty decision to call it a hate crime, but I will say that the"culprit" was very lazy and ignorant. Whom ever did this was very inconsiderate of the health concerns that are associated with bodily fluids. My question is: With all of the monies that circulate on this campus, where are the security cameras? I'm just glad that I'm not the librarian at that school's library. One would think that a highly respected Ivey League institution such as this would set models for others to follow; however I suppose my assumptions are terribly wrong.
Posted by: Dindi | Feb 11, 2011 7:50:32 PM