Harvard University: Please abolish the anti-gay Secret Court of 1920 and grant posthumous honorary degrees to the seven student victims
  • Petitioning Christine Heenan

This petition will be delivered to:

Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications, Harvard
Christine Heenan
Harvard University
President Drew Faust

Harvard University: Please abolish the anti-gay Secret Court of 1920 and grant posthumous honorary degrees to the seven student victims

    1. Kaia Stern
    2. Petition by

      Kaia Stern

Harvard Secret Court of 1920

In 1920, Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell formed a secret court to hunt down homosexuals. Nine students were expelled:

• Donald Clark
• Eugene Cummings
• Kenneth Day
• Stanley Gilkey
• Joseph Lumbard
• Ernest Weeks Roberts
• Edward Say
• Keith Smerage
• Nathaniel Wollf

These students were not only forced to leave the University, they were also ordered to leave Cambridge, MA. Two of the students were allowed back (Gilkey & Lumbard), but the rest were not—one killed himself over the ordeal—Eugene R. Cummings. He was only 23-years-old and three weeks away from graduation. We are also disturbed to hear that Harvard pursued and persecuted these young men for over 30 years.

Their Day in the Yard Movement at Harvard

Their Day in the Yard is a movement that was started in June 2010 by a student of Harvard University, who wanted to help the expelled students achieve the recognition that they deserve, before she graduated.

Fellow students and supporters continue to join this worthy initiative. Together, we urge the University to grant the seven expelled students posthumous honorary degrees. We are also asking the University to officially abolish the Secret Court and reverse its decisions. These students have no justice until their records have been expunged and the Court’s decision is reversed. Until this is done, the Court and its work is still very much alive.

February 29, 2012 Demonstration at Harvard

Please join us at our February 29, 2012 demonstration at Sanders Theatre at Harvard.  We will be calling for justice for the students and urging the Born This Way Foundation to support this movement at their Launch. More info here: http://www.facebook.com/events/278833778856215/

More info at: http://secretcourt.org/

*Please note that Kaia Stern supports this movement, but she takes no credit for founding it

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 20,000 signatures
    2. Harvard showdown: No posthumous degrees for expelled gay students |LA Times

      Kaia Stern
      Petition Organizer

      "Harvard University isn't backing down -- and neither is Their Day in the Yard."

    3. Reached 12,500 signatures
    4. Harvard Rallies for Gay Students

      Michael Jones
      Senior Campaign Director

      Check out this article on GPhilly that reports on the efforts of many in the Harvard community to seek justice for those persecuted and expelled by Harvard's "Secret Court."

    5. Reached 2,500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Tyler King CINCINNATI, OH
      • about 20 hours ago

      Wow! You mean to tell me that Harvard University, the university for upidy, spoiled, rich, ignorant pricks have another secret society other than the "skulls and bones" club? I'm not surprised! This secret court to hunt out certain individuals who have a same sex preference needs to be dismantled ASAP! How outrageous!

    • Kelly Chelucci VANCOUVER, WA
      • 2 days ago

      this is abhorrent

    • Justin Whitlow IRVINE, CA
      • 11 days ago

      We cannot change the past. But we can still try to make things right by honoring those wronged.

    • Eliot Schickler BROOKLINE, MA
      • 26 days ago

      It's the right thing to do!

    • Fran Hardy PRESCOTT, AZ
      • about 1 month ago

      higher education is a sin


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