Monday, December 13, 2010

Books Vandalized at Harvard Library

...from Lambda Literary...

LGBT Books Vandalized With Urine @ Harvard Library 
by Antonio Gonzalez

The details are still unclear, but according to the Harvard Crimson:
Approximately 40 books dealing with LGBT issues were vandalized with what appeared to be urine in Lamont Library on November 24, according to a report filed Friday by the library security staff to the Harvard University Police Department.

There’s nothing in the article to explain why the incident was only reported on Friday, and not closer to November 24th date, almost three weeks ago. More from the story below.  
HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano wrote in an e-mail that the vandalized books’ subject matters included lesbian and gay issues and same-sex marriage. Due to the nature of books, HUPD is currently investigating the incident as a bias crime.

The library staff members found an empty bottle next to the vandalized books that may have contained the urine, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard. The staff initially responded to the incident as a health hazard, quickly removing the bottle and relocating the damaged books to the Collections Conservation Lab on Level D of Widener Library.  
Brainard said that the library staff assessed the value of the vandalized books before reporting the incident, accounting for the space of two weeks between the incident and the report to HUPD. The books—which Brainard estimated to be worth a few thousand dollars—will be discarded due to the severity of the damage.
As you can imagine, the comments section on this article has quickly devolved—as most comments sections are prone.

College prank? Coincidence? Or hate crime? Probably all three.