August 30, 2011

Police Investigate Feces Found in McGraw Hall

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Cornell University Police responded to a call from a staff member who discovered human feces on a chair in a McGraw Hall classroom Friday morning.

The police report stated that an officer was dispatched to room 366 of McGraw Hall to investigate “a report of an unknown individual who had defecated on a chair.”

“We usually recommend people do that kind of thing in the bathroom,” Sharon Dittman, associate director of health promotion and community relations for Gannett Health Services, said Tuesday night.

CUPD called the case one of “disorderly conduct,” according to Sunday’s crime log. Although the log said the offender or offenders were unidentified, it marked the case as closed.

The record indicated the act was committed Friday between 5 and 10 a.m., although the discovery was not reported to police until 2:27 p.m. that day.

According to Dittman, vandalism of this kind can present a health risk to the campus community.

“Anytime people come into contact with another person’s feces it is a health risk,” Dittman said. “A lot of diseases are conveyed by contact with fecal matter, and it only takes trace amounts. This is why there are hand washing signs in restrooms.”

Dittman also noted the possible mental health implications associated with the case — for both the offender and the offended.

“Was the person who did this unaware of how upsetting that could be to others, or were they uncaring,” Dittman wondered. “It could also be very upsetting for whoever has to clean up this person’s mess of that nature.”

Original Author: Rebecca Harris