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CVMBS email incident need-to-knows

The+College+of+Veterinary+Medicine+%26amp%3B+Biological+Sciences+program+director+Vince+Hardy+%28third+from+right%29%2C+has+faced+backlash+throughout+the+week+for+comments+made+in+his+reply-all+email+regarding+the+LGBTQ%2B+community.%26%23160%3B
via vetmed.tamu.edu

The College of Veterinary Medicine & Biological Sciences program director Vince Hardy (third from right), has faced backlash throughout the week for comments made in his “reply-all” email regarding the LGBTQ+ community. 

After receiving an accidental reply-all email from College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, or CVMBS, program director Vince Hardy, students took to Twitter to tell of the email which was believed to be harsh to the LGBTQ+ community.

Here is what you need to know about the situation:

On June 15, Hardy accidentally replied-all to an email that was sent to promote an LGBTQ+ event.

The original email was sent to all within the CVMBS as a celebration of the June Pride month and fundraiser for the Trevor Project, a group that works to prevent suicide in the LGBTQ+ community. Hardy responded to all who received the email with negative connotations toward the LGBTQ+ community and said he wishes to not receive any messages promoting events in the future.

“As a Christian and a pastor of churches, I do not promote or celebrate sexual perversions,” Hardy said in his reply. “Rampant sexual perversion and the killing of poor innocent children (and the nation’s acceptance of these sins) are two things that lead to God’s judgement upon a nation and its demise.”

The following day, Hardy sent an apology statement to those in the college who received his reply. He apologized to those who were hurt by his email response and said he believes all people should be treated fairly.

“I have a love for all people and deserve to treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve. While I appreciate that any words from me may be viewed with skepticism, I ask all those to whom the email was sent to forgive me for my insensitivity and lack of a manifestation of love from the CVM family. I love you all and am truly sorry for the pain and anguish this has caused,” Hardy said in the email.

CVMBS dean John August addressed the situation later that week in an email to the college with a message subject “difficult conversations in a strong college.”

“I have taken administrative actions based on the incident this week,” August said in the email. “I, and you, must continue to make our college a great place to work and learn – one in which everyone is appreciated, respected, and safe; where opportunities flourish for personal and professional growth; and where professional conduct is both expected and valued.”

Kris Anderson, Class of 2009, said she believes that the college has not done enough and started a petition on June 19 to terminate Hardy due to his behavior toward LGBTQ+ students. The petition has gained 2,000 signatures, respectively, within the five day period in which it has been active.

Anderson said she has seen similar behavior within the CVMBS during her college years and urges the university to take action.

“Within the past few decades, the university as a whole and the College of Veterinary Medicine specifically have made strides in terms of inclusion of people previously targeted by the school’s culture. We must be clear that messages such as the one included in Mr. Hardy’s original email subvert those efforts and are primarily hateful. Messages such as Mr. Hardy’s make the school a less inclusive and less desirable place to study, work and learn,” Anderson said in the petition description. “Those types of messages have no place at a public institution of learning.”

Anderson also expressed her support for LGBTQIA+ Aggies.

“You have so much support. You are not alone. You are not bad or wrong or unwelcome. Texas A&M is better for the diverse quilt made up of all of its people, and the only weak thread in that quilt is hatred. Please take action, be strong and reach out for support if you need it,” Anderson said. “Change happens over time; even setbacks like this allow change to launch forward.”

Following the email and apology, August released a Facebook statement on June 21 saying the CVMBS is not in support of Hardy’s message and that it supports the LGBTQ+ community fully.

“Our commitment to maintaining a welcoming, supportive and safe environment for the LGBTQIA+ community has been strengthened by this difficult incident,” August said “We are deeply hurt when one person’s voice does not represent our sincere aspirations.”

Additionally, the post said the college has made “great strides” toward creating a list of awards made in recent years promoting diversity, including the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award and the creation of a video series from the CVMBS Diversity and Inclusion Office.

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