Queerty is better as a member

Log in | Register

Group Calls For Posthumous Degrees For Harvard Students Expelled For Being Gay In 1920s

Some students and faculty at Harvard University are using an upcoming appearance by Lady Gaga to draw attention to a shameful part of the Ivy League school’s history.

In wasn’t until 2002 that the existence of a secret cabal that investigated charges of homosexuality back in the first part of the 20th century came to light. Now a group is asking that seven students expelled in 1920 under suspicion of being gay be awarded posthumous degrees.

The group will hold a rally tomorrow, when Lady Gaga comes to campus to launch her Born This Way anti-bullying foundation. Joining Mother Monster will Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, reports the AP. 

“We felt like this was an opportunity to ask for their support and would hope they would join us in asking Harvard to do the right thing here and help seek justice for these students,” said professor Kaia Stern, who plans on attending the rally.

Tagged: , , ,
    • Dave

      Are the GLBT people who were attending Harvard then and expelled for being GLBT even alive anymore?

      Feb 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdWoody

      @Dave: Hence the use of the word “posthumous.”

      Feb 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew

      So what’s the point then if they’re all no longer alive? Too little too late.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan

      @Drew : So would you say the same about the British government issueing an apology for how they treated Alan Turing? Yes, all these people are dead, but it should be acknowledge that how they were treated was wrong, and some kind of reparation – even if it can only be a symbolic gesture – should be had.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      No. 3 · Drew asked, “So what’s the point then if they’re all no longer alive?” It’s simply a sort of apology, directed at gays in general.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ben

      It’s never too late for an apology….whether that happens or not is another story…

      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fabular Films

      Starring Harvard undergraduates, PERKINS 28: Testimony from the Secret Court Files of 1920 was produced at Harvard University in 2008 to bring awareness about the charges made against the students, whose disclosures led to academic withdrawals and even suicide. As an educational document of discrimination in the early 20th Century and based on actual court documents, the film reenacts the secret trial and the disciplinary actions taken by the administration against these students.


      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew

      Ryan-Yes I would. It’s pointless since Alan Turing is no longer alive.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

      well spoken guys, u ar right

      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • William

      This is such a nice idea. I hope they do it.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve

      @Drew: Alan Turing should be given a posthumous Nobel Prize, for inventing the very concept of a “computer”.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      No. 11 · Steve wrote, “@Drew: Alan Turing should be given a posthumous Nobel Prize, for inventing the very concept of a “computer”.”

      He didn’t – see http://inventors.about.com/library/blcoindex.htm for an incomplete list, missing earlier work by Charles Babbage and some of the work of others as well.

      Turing made important contributions, of course, and is one of the founders of computer science, but the work he did was more mathematical in nature: the so-called Turing machine was a mathematical model of a real device.

      If you want to see a physical realization of a Turing machine, you can find one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3keLeMwfHY (it won’t look like any computer you’ve ever seen, and the implementation probably used at least one microprocessor as a controller).

      While it is very primitive, Turing proved that a Turing machine could compute anything that a real computer could compute, so it is a useful model for computation.

      There is a prestigious award named after Turing, the Turing Award, sometimes described as the “Nobel Prize of computer science”. BTW, there is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, and computer science is really closer to mathematics than anything else.

      Feb 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Robertson

      @B: I heart u :-p

      Feb 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason

      How shameful of Harvard! Their rationale that homosexuality was illegal back then doesn’t stand scrutiny. Homosexual behavior between men was illegal, not the homosexual orientation. To my knowledge, men who were suspected of having a homosexual orientation were dismissed from the school simply on the basis of their orientation or suspicion thereof.

      Harvard is quite disgraceful, you have to admit.

      Feb 29, 2012 at 6:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tika Masala

      Its a fantastic idea. Those people should be honored.

      Feb 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris

      @jason: No, no you don’t have to admit anything. You have to take in to consideration the time they were in. Imagine a world 5 years from now that has outlawed the so called ‘text chat’ that people are using. To clarify, I’m referring to using single characters instead of whole words, or removing many of the letters in a word. Now, in such a world practically any website with a user comments section would fall under scrutiny, simply because it is acceptable now. There was no way that the people of 1920 could have foreseen a drastic change to social norms, and you shouldn’t berate them for that.

      On an slightly less specific note, asking for an apology is about the most useless thing you can do, anyone can apologized when asked to, think of a child who has taken a cookie and asked to apologize for it, sure they’ll do it but they aren’t really regretting the action. If Harvard wanted the negative attention it would bring to itself by drugging up this issue, they would have apologized.

      Mar 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Justin

      So, the people who think Harvard shouldn’t apologize for the mistakes that probably ruined the lives of others probably also think that African Americans shouldn’t get reparations either… If nobody ever apologizes for ruining others lives it becomes acceptable, and society crumbles. It doesn’t matter if what they did would’ve been more acceptable back then, it isn’t now.

      Mar 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Robertson

      @Justin: What the hell do reparations have to do with this?

      Mar 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris

      @Justin: You’re right, it isn’t acceptable now, that’s why they aren’t doing it now.

      Mar 2, 2012 at 12:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

    Add your Comment

    Please log in to add your comment

    Need an account? Register It's free and easy.

  • Copyright 2017 Queerty, Inc.
    Follow Queerty at Queerty.com, twitter.com/queerty and facebook.com/queerty.