Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Harvard Gay Books Soaked in Urine: Police Investigate Hate Crime

Cambridge, Massachusetts – Harvard University Police are investigating a urine-stained attack against the LGBT book collection held in the Harvard Lamont Library. Forty (40) books were found “doused in urine” the week of November 24, according to the New York Daily News.  The report became public on this past Friday. The books were all dealing with LGBT issues and same-sex marriage.  Because of the nature of the subject matter in the books, the Harvard Police Department (HUPD) is investigating the attack as a bias-related hate crime. HUPD spokesperson, Steven G. Catalano, told the Harvard Crimson, “The HUPD has zero tolerance for any bias-related incidents or crimes.” Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds also decried the crime to the Crimson, saying, “Harvard College will not tolerate acts of vandalism, especially those that appear to be motivated by hate or bias. [As] a community, we will continue to affirm our shared values of dignity and respect for everyone in our community.” According to sources at Harvard University, the books were worth thousands of dollars, and are damaged beyond repair.  Beth S. Brainerd, Harvard Library spokesperson, told the press that the books would have to be discarded. “Once the urine is poured, they can’t really fix [the books],” she said in a Crimson interview. Library staff reportedly found a bottle beside the ruined books on Level B of the historic Lamont Library, once filled with what appeared to urine. They threw the bottle and its contents away, believing it to be a health hazard. Harvard University LGBT leadership was quick to respond to the news of the desecration of the books. Senior at Harvard, Marco Chan, co-chair of Harvard College Queer Students and Allies, said to the Crimson, “I am very outraged. It is hard to conceive this as a coincidence when there are 40 books on the same subject. 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.” The Lamont Library at Harvard was the first in the United States designed specifically for use by undergraduate students. Opened in 1949, the Lamont is a popular venue for study and research on the campus. The strike against the LGBT book collection is a serious incident in the struggle for human rights. Hate crimes against book collections in Germany presaged an intensification of violent Anti-Semitism, for example. Outrage by bias groups often targets books first, and then people. No reported leads exist as the Harvard University Police Department continues to investigate the book desecration.

December 14, 2010 - Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, book desecration, Harvard University, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Social Justice Advocacy, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, vandalism | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Well, now Harvard knows it has some haters on its campus and it can heighten its awareness to prevent other potential hate crimes. This can also be an opportunity to address the entire campus and those associated with it to debunk the lies that have been propagated against the GLBT community. Here are a couple resources:
    “The Ten Lies about the GLBT Community Told by Conservative Hate Groups: a Straight Christian Perspective”

    Comment by Lana | December 14, 2010

  2. It bullshit that we are treated like this based on out sexual orientation! they need to fucking grow up and tolerate the fact that there are indeed gay poeple out in the world and they can not do shit about this!!!

    Comment by Becca | December 15, 2010

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