Last month, an unknown vandal poured urine over 40 books on LGBT issues in Harvard's Lamont Library. The volumes were destroyed, and they may not be replaced.
According to the Harvard Crimson, library staff discovered the vandalized books on Nov. 24, along with a bottle that may have contained the urine. The books, on gay marriage and other LGBT issues, were worth thousands of dollars in total. They're probably unsalvageable — says Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard, "Once the urine is poured, they can't really fix [the books]." And Lamont may not replace them, since other libraries on campus apparently have copies. Sadly, this means the pee-vandals may have gotten exactly what they wanted.
Marco Chan of the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies says, "the message that this incident sent to me is that we need more resources not only for the LGBT community but also targeted towards other people." It's also a reminder — as though we needed one — that even liberal-seeming environments like Harvard aren't immune to homophobia. Like the noose left on the door of a gay rights group in California, the urine vandal is just another sad indicator that anti-gay hate isn't confined to the South, or to high schools. At least Harvard police are taking the incident seriously — while the Orange County police did nothing about the obviously threatening noose, the HUPD are investigating the vandalism as a "bias crime."