An almost somber photo of Robert Frost

Photo by Luke Young

Urine trouble: Stop kissing the Robert Frost statue

James Kelly


Staff Writer


In front of Rounds Hall, a man with a thousand-yard stare watches campus. He sits on a bench, surveying Mary Lyon Lawn all day and all night. He has seen some things. He is Robert Frost, and campus rumors suggest that students urinate on him. 

Claims are common on the anonymous social media site YikYak. “People piss on the statue [just so you know]” one user said. “On a dare, I pulled up my skirt and sat on his face…” said another. Other users say they have witnessed people fight the statue and “pack a bowl” on him. A poll of 150 Plymouth State students found that 62 have witnessed somebody urinate on Frost and 58 have witnessed somebody kiss him. “It’s definitely known by a lot of people,” said Geneva-Smith Community Advisor Avery Hazelton.

Plymouth Police Department activity logs show that 14 college-aged adults were arrested for public urination in 2022. Note that people who urinate in public aren’t always caught, and people who are caught aren’t always arrested. Public urination arrests appear to come in waves. Six of the 14 public urination arrests in 2022 came on the week of Oct. 9-15 (the week of Pirate Party). PPD logs no longer include the locations of arrests or the identities of the arrested.

The University Police Department, on the other hand, make themselves difficult to contact. They have failed to share an email address on their webpage (including the contact section), and their doors were locked during their advertised office hours.

The Clock reached out to Mike Son, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at PSU, to see if Plymouth has any way to objectively prove the Robert Frost rumors. According to Son, the school does not have any technology that could identify urine, saliva, or semen if they were present on the statue. Instead, he recommended purchasing a blacklight. 

A blacklight found on Amazon marketed specifically for detecting pet urine and was used to conduct a preliminary test in a Geneva Smith Hall bathroom, which indicated either a faulty backlight or an exceptional janitorial staff. Examinations of the statue with the blacklight at 8:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Thursday night and 2:00 a.m. Friday morning all failed to reveal any bodily fluids. 

It is not clear why students would violate the statute. “I feel like a lot of people are like, ‘oh, it’s Robert Frost, like, he’s a cool guy. Let’s piss on him,’” said Hazelton. “I don’t see why anyone would have beef with Robert Frost,” he said.

There is at least one person on campus who has beef with Robert Frost: John Lappie, Assistant Professor of Practice at PSU. Lappie worked with political science professor Robert Egbert, who retired after 40 years at PSU. “Robert Frost worked here for one year and he got a statute,” Lappie said. “By that precedent… what’s [Egbert] going to get? Rename the university after him? Egbert State: Home of the Fighting Bobs.” Lappie has taught at PSU for six years, and as such he recommends a building on campus named for his cats. “It makes sense to me that we have the statue here,” Lappie said on a more serious note. “He’s a famous person who was [an] associate of our university, even if only for a brief time.” When asked about the urination rumors, Lappie’s response was concise: “gross.”