Tag Archive: LGBT issues

  1. Protesters ask Harvard to grant honorary degrees

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    As Lady Gaga launches her Born This Way Foundation at Harvard today, protestors are calling on the university to renounce century-old anti-gay policies.

    A Facebook event asked Harvard students and affiliates to meet at 3 p.m. in front of Sanders Theater to ask the university to officially renounce a secret court it created in the 1920s to find and expel gay students and award them an honorary degree. Protestors say they will present Harvard administrators with an online petition in support of these demands which, as of 4:30 p.m., had received more than 5,200 signatures.

    According to Their Day in the Yard movement, which was launched by a Harvard student in 2010 to “help the expelled students achieve the recognition that they deserve,” then-Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell authorized a “secret court” in 1920 to find and remove gay students from the university and from the city of Cambridge. Nine students were expelled by the courts, the movement claims. Eugene Cummings was three weeks from graduating when he was implicated by the court and kicked out of Harvard. He committed suicide a month later.

    “I want to express our deep regret for the way this situation was handled, as well as the anguish the students and their families must have experienced eight decades ago,” then-Harvard President Lawrence Summers said in a 2002 statement to The Harvard Crimson. But current President Faust has said, according to the Crimson, that the expelled students do not meet the criteria for posthumous degrees.

    The movement will ask the university to officially abolish the secret court and reverse its decisions. The event’s Facebook page also encourages protestors to attend the launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

  2. Lady Gaga partners with Harvard on Foundation

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    We always knew Harvard attracted little monsters, but a recent announcement that Lady Gaga would be visiting the university in February further confirms that belief.

    The international icon and sometime pop singer will be at the University’s Sanders Theatre on Feb. 29 to launch her Born This Way Foundation. The foundation will partner with The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Harvard Graduate School of Education to further the principles established in American society via Gaga’s hit single “Born This Way.”

    The Foundation aims to help individuals realize their full potential as humans, without facing hate or bullying. It will focus on “promoting self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring, career development and advocacy for young people,” according to the Crimson.

    Fans of the Harvard Graduate School of Education can win tickets for the ceremony by “liking” the organization’s Facebook page. It already has nearly 10,000 likes, a number we expect will double by the launch party.

  3. YCC looks to expand gender-neutral housing

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    The Yale College Council wants to expand gender-neutral housing to next year’s juniors, according to a report sent out Monday morning.

    The report cited a November 2011 survey of the classes of 2013 and 2014, which showed that 92.7 percent of respondents were either supportive or indifferent to gender-neutral housing, and that 67.1 percent would considering living in a mixed-gender suite.

    “It is our hope that the Class of 2014 will have the option to live in gender-neutral suites during the 2012-2013 academic year,” the Council said in a Monday morning email.

    The YCC worked with at least two students from each gender-neutral suite as well as Melanie Boyd, assistant dean of student affairs and DUS of women’s gender & sexuality studies, to develop the report, according to the email. The report stated that gender-based housing is intolerant of LGBTQ students, since it implicitly denies the existence of homosexual, gender-queer and transgender students.

    The YCC’s report also said that gender-neutral housing would support a healthy sexual climate on campus by eliminating potential sexual implications of “going back with someone” to their single-gender suite, according to the report.

    In a letter included with the report, Boyd said she believes gender-neutral housing will impede the “dynamics of assault” by helping students develop deeper relationships with people of different genders.

    Gender-neutral housing has been available to the senior class since the 2010-’11 school year.