Lady Gaga's visit to Harvard University
will be accompanied by calls for the school to award posthumous
degrees to expelled gay students, the AP reported.
Lady Gaga, a strong advocate of gay
rights, will be at the university on Wednesday to launch her Born
This Way anti-bullying foundation.
Students and faculty are urging Harvard
to confer honorary degrees on nine students who were expelled in 1920
because of their sexual orientation.
The expulsions came to light in 2002
when a student reporter found a file marked “secret court” and
wrote about the findings in the Harvard Crimson magazine.
“In 2002, the University expressed
its deep regret for the way the situation was handled as well as for
the anguish experienced by the students and their families almost a
century ago,” Harvard spokesman John Longbrake said in a statement.
The school has stated that it only
awards such degrees in rare cases.
At Wednesday's Born This Way inaugural
event, Lady Gaga will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, U.S. Health &
Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and spiritual leader
“Given the Born This Way Foundation's
commitment to this mission and their choice to launch their
foundation at Harvard, 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 visiting faculty member Kaia Stern.
More than 3,000 people have signed a
petition calling on the school to honor the expelled students,
one of whom committed suicide after being questioned by officials.