Let’s get pissed

This Crimson story manages to be so perfectly…well, perfectly Harvard. The nickel version is that the Crimson originally reported on a Harvard library employee discovering that a whole shelf of LGBT-themed books in the undergrad library had apparently been, to use the parlance of our times, micturated upon. Outrage ensued and the Harvard cops began investigating the incident as a hate crime. Now it comes out that the employee who was reported to have found the defiled books had actually caused the damage, by knocking over a nearby bottle, which then deposited its contents (thought to be urine) on them.

First, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. I never worked at the Crimson (please! I have standards), but I could have written this story without even looking at it. For some reason every single Crimson story on a raging campus controversy always, always, always contains this kind of angry and vaguely conspiratorial quote from a victimized student group leader, and especially when the facts turn out to be not quite so bad as originally thought:

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.

“On the one hand, I feel relieved by the news—but on the other hand, I’m still holding breath on questions that are still unresolved,” Chan said. “Why was there a bottle of urine on the shelf? Why did it take two weeks for library or HUPD to figure out that this was just an accident? Did someone suddenly come forward?”

QSA Co-Chair Emma Q. Wang ’12 said she was disappointed that Hammonds is only now speaking out about LGBT issues, and that her statement does not address problems faced by the community beyond the incident at Lamont. Wang described Hammonds’ e-mail regarding the books as “poor timing,” considering the series of LGBT suicides across the nation and the two hate crimes—one an assault on an undergraduate by people shouting homophobic slurs, and the other anti-gay graffiti in a graduate dorm—that occurred at Harvard earlier this semester.

“I don’t think this issue was handled with the degree of sensitivity and care it could have been,” Wang said…

I’m not sure if it’s that the Crimson figures it needs to manufacture the greatest amount of outrage on every big story it breaks or that Harvard students (particularly student group leaders) are just singularly whiny about everything (probably both). But the much more pressing matter is the appearance of random bodily fluids around campus. One of the most bizarre things that happened to my roommates during my days as an undergrad was discovering that someone had deposited feces in the washing machine in our dorm  (which led to a fun surprise when my roommate went to toss his whites in). After the Lamont incident I think this is clearly a trend, and at this point my hunch is that a final club has adopted “put shit and piss in public places” as one of its initiation rites.

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