So I might have accidentally destroyed some cell lines and other assorted samples that the researchers in the lab I work in have used for apparently quite a while. It caused quite a shitstorm and I'm told that the university is considering "legal action" against me. They can't do that, right? I'm just an undergraduate student, so mistakes should be expected. Any help?
If you were doing what was expected of you to the best of your ability and fucked up while doing this, there's no blame on you. Unless you explicitly signed a "yes I know what I'm doing and will take full responsibility for handling this stuff" waiver, I guess.
I hope you're right. I've been told that the value of some of those samples might have been in the six-figure range since they were decades old and not even available anymore. If I have to reimburse even a fraction of that, I'm pretty much fucked for life.
Unless you were touching stuff on purpose you were explicitly told NOT to be touching, the fault is entirely on them. Lab accidents are common and people mess up things all the fucking time. The solution for this is to not let undergrads touch your six-figure samples, and don't give people access to the labs housing the very pricey stuff without close supervision and/or extensive lab training. The law knows this, the lab guys know this. You should be fine.
>Unless you were touching stuff on purpose you were explicitly told NOT to be touching, the fault is entirely on them.
So the full story was that I was working pretty late in the lab when it was nearly empty and this freezer in the next room kept making this ungodly beeping sound for literally like an hour, so I went ahead and unplugged it without giving it much thought. The next day they found out that pretty much everything inside it was thawed out and destroyed.
I was never explicitly told not to do that, so I should be okay... right?
You are retarded and fucked. I would seek action against your dumb ass. At the very least, I would fine you 10k and kick you out of the university and revoke your degrees.
Don't fuck with thungs you don't know. RULE FUCKING 1 ABOUT BEING AN UNDERGRAD.
>I was never explicitly told not to do that, so I should be okay... right?
Well, that's pretty stupid, but in the end, yes. A situation arose and you did your best to handle it reasonably, that's all anyone can reasonably expect from a student. The fact that it turned out poorly shouldn't change anything.
Hindsight is 20/20. It kept making the sound for quite a while and nobody came to check on it, so I assumed I could just unplug it. I get it, it was pretty fucking dumb, but there were no warning labels or anything.
>unplug a beeping freezer
>full of shit that needs to stay frozen
>in a lab
>at your school
Equivalent of unplugging life support on somebody because their heart monitor was beeping. Holy fuck you are fucked.
He needs a lawyer because ignorance of the contents of a freezer is not a defence. It was also not reasonable to pull plugs because of loud noises when he was in their on his own terms, not obligated by any schedule.
But there could be reasonable negligence on the opperation, maintanence and placement of the freezer. A sort of culpable negligence on the schools part. Since the building was nearly empty of people, guidence may not have been present, which was necessary for the student.
This is definitely not cut and dry. Even if he doesnt pay a dime, he could still face expulsion.
Don't worry anon. My FBI team just followed OP's IP to his university, we went to their laboratory and examined the samples ourselves.
It took a while because they are less recognizable because of being dead but in fact they were growing synthetic muslims to bomb us from the inside.
The dean and every professor has already been arrested.
Don't worry, with our boss, Mr. Trump, we will make America great again.
>and this freezer in the next room kept making this ungodly beeping sound for literally like an hour, so I went ahead and unplugged it without giving it much thought
You are a fucking idiot for doing that, and either you're trolling or you shouldn't be allowed near a laboratory ever again.
If those cell lines were that valuable, they should have backups stored somewhere else. Also, unplugging a -80 freezer (which is what I'm guessing it is) should not completely thaw the contents if the door is not opened. If the contents did thaw, then the freezer was already malfunctioning before you unplugged it. But OP, before you went home that nite, you should have plugged it back in. Did you really think unplugging a freezer was going to be ok?
Is there normally some kind of training session you go through where they tell you things like not to unplug equipment or whatever? Because yeah in hindsight it's dumb but to someone with little experience and not knowing what the freezer was for I can imagine it not seeming like a big deal. Besides, it seems awfully risky to store something so irreplacable in a laboratory where people with little experience are working without supervision.
It is quite possible that the alarm indicated failure. The question then is should the student have looked at the reason for the alarm (a sign) and alerted staff?
>should have backups stored somewhere else
Should. Most labs are underfunded and from my time I remember there were so many things we should have had that we never could have afforded.
>they tell you things like not to unplug equipment or whatever?
That would be the equivalent of putting up warnings signs "Do not eat yellow snow" with 1 meter distance wherever there is snow. I know the US is a funny place but there is a time and place for what the rest of the world knows as common sense. I really like you guys and I am impressed by much of what the US has achieved but there are times when I just cannot understand you.
At first I was on your side. Then I read this.
Bro. You have a phone. If you think it's really important, call someone. You have the Internet. Send an email. You're annoyed? Go home and come back the next day.
You effectively vandalized the contents of that refrigerator. Bro...no.
No. Absolutely not. He absolutely should be considered guilty. Whether or not he pays for the damages is a different thing, but in no way should he skirt responsibility. You don't own things in the lab, so you don't get to fuck with things in the lab. If something is broken, it's not your business. The best thing to do is to tell someone about it.
I don't know how you did you it, but I think you you've just achieved anti-research.
>>I'm sorry officer. I didn't know I couldn't do that
UPS's are emergency devices meant to let someone safely shut equipment down. They are not meant to run equipment indefinitely.
Also he said he unplugged it. Even if it was plugged into a UPS, that wouldn't have helped.
Oh they can absolutely sue you. One of our final year students had his life ruined like this when he broke 60k worth of equipment.
You're an undergraduate not a child, if you were careless it's your fault and depending on your universities policies you can be kicked out/sued etc. Such is life in STEM, we are cannon fodder.
The worst is the impact this blot will have on your career though.
I recommend you try contacting whoever was in charge and try to ease tensions, maybe you can calm them down if you explain your side of things.
labs often leave the doors open or unlocked for convenience until the last person with keys leaves. and if it's a shared space with multiple labs in one common lab area, often the lab doesnt get locked up until very late at night
undergrads aren't supposed to be unattended and unsupervised (especially not ones like OP who have no fucking clue what they're doing), but lots of the time those rules just aren't followed
>I was working pretty late in the lab when it was nearly empty and this freezer in the next room kept making this ungodly beeping sound for literally like an hour, so I went ahead and unplugged it without giving it much thought.
Dude what the FUCK. Why would you do that?
This has to be a troll.
Agreed. Nobody would ever think "I should unplug this freezer, no way anything in this freezer actually needs to stay frozen."
It's the perfect mix of infuriating and too stupid to be real. Such concentrations simply don't occur naturally.
Putting labels on everything is not the way to retardproof the world, killing retards whenever they show up is how you retardproof the world.
OP is in dire need of killing due to being a subhuman. Maybe a nigger or a woman ? Ah well, retards are universal, so maybe not.