Yesterday, Harvard said the mysterious case of 36 pee-soaked LGBT books had been demoted from "hate crime" to "accident" after a library employee copped to accidentally spilling an open bottle of urine. But the explanation doesn't sit easy with some.
Previously, we contemplated the likelihood of an open bottle of urine appearing on an LGBT shelf. Yes, we decided, it was possible: If ever there was a library for asocial shut-ins who pee in bottles, Harvard's undergraduate library is it.
But how did the bottled pee destroy thirty-six books before the library employee noticed and righted the overturned bottle? In today's Harvard Crimson, "History and Literature Lecturer Timothy P. McCarthy '93" voices doubt:
I think it's premature to downgrade this from a "hate crime" to an "accident." I'm no expert on bodily fluids, but it takes an awful lot of urine to destroy 36 books. Are the bathrooms not working in Lamont?
I could imagine, perhaps, an accidental spill hitting one or two books; even if it was a week's worth of pee, the proverbial bottleneck would slow the cascading urine and limit the spill. And even if the bottle was an open-necked Nalgene, and sitting on the top shelf? Assuming six rows of books to a shelf, the pee would have to have hit six books in each row! That's a pretty wide stream.
Maybe there was a cart of books, double-stacked, that the pee landed in the middle, and pooled? But the ensuing pee puddle would still have to be pretty big.
And finally: The mysterious pee event occurred two weeks ago. The library dealt with the matter internally (starting, I imagine, with a mop) and eventually decided to bring it to the authorities' attention—why?
QSA Political Co-Chair Sam J. Bakkila '11-'12 echoed the frustration with the hazy explanation of the incident. He said that the accidental urine spill may be plausible, but wondered why it took over two weeks for the issue to be brought to public attention, why the story changed, and why the initial police report interpreted the issue as vandalism.