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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Hardy has to go


In his most recent article, opinion writer Joshua Howell argues Veterinary Medicine program coordinator, Vincent Hardy should step down following the release of his homophobic email. 

There can be no denying that Vincent Hardy — a program coordinator in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, or CVMBS — is a homophobe. Those might be strong words, but consider the evidence.
Emails obtained by this columnist show that on June 14, Agostino Buono, also of the CVMBS, sent a cheery message to his fellow graduate students inviting them to a local Pride event. But Hardy wasn’t interested in attending. Nor was he interested in sending a professional email declining the invitation and politely asking to be removed from Buono’s contact list.
Instead, Hardy added the following:
“I realize that sexual deviations are on the increase in today’s society (and are even being accepted by normal as many), and so you probably felt no hesitation in sending me your email. Nevertheless, as a Christian and a pastor of churches, I do not promote nor celebrate sexual perversions. Rampant sexual perversions and the killing of poor innocent children (and a nation’s acceptance of these sins) are two things which lead to God’s judgment upon a nation and its demise (Leviticus 18:1-28; Deuteronomy 9: 1-5). [As such,] I will not be celebrating the demise of our nation, nor any of the prevailing sins that promote it.”
When asked to clarify his remarks for this column, Hardy declined, noting he “[did] not think that an interview at this time would be the best thing to do.” As a journalist, that’s frustrating to hear, but it probably was the best decision for Hardy. To say more, to attempt to explain everything away, would surely have been an exercise in digging one’s own grave.
Because Hardy’s words weren’t merely “insensitive” and “hurtful,” as he wrote in a lukewarm apology the following day. They were homophobic. And it isn’t too much to say they were the words of a homophobe.
What’s the difference? The homophobic remark, like the racist or sexist remark, is an instance in time. Sometimes it’s an unfortunate choice of words, a joke in bad taste or the reemergence of a long forgotten belief one hasn’t quite exorcised. While still having the ability to do remarkable damage, and while sometimes justifiably punishable, those instances often don’t go to the core of who someone is. Instead, these remarks are often the most teachable of moments. Those with a modicum of humility say to themselves, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Assuming the offending party changes their behavior, they often receive a share of the grace we all have received at one point or another.
But that isn’t what happened here. In this case, Hardy cited chapter and verse. He gave us his credentials “as a Christian and a pastor of churches.” He made clear his belief that those who engaged in “sexual deviations” and “sexual perversion” were responsible for “God’s judgement upon a nation and its demise.”
And what’s worse, this language wasn’t confined to his pulpits. This was a professional email, using A&M’s resources, sent to the entirety of the CVMBS’s graduate students (CVMBS Communications did not respond to multiple requests for comment before publication.)
In other words, Hardy’s comments go to the root of not only who he is but who he is now — a homophobe. Dancing around that fact isn’t engaging in serious moral reasoning no matter how much we try and gussy it up. At best, it’s morally obtuse. At worst, it’s providing cover for homophobia.
And so the only question remaining is what the school should do. Hardy may say he has “a love for all people and [a] desire to treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve,” but quite frankly, his words cannot be trusted. Who are students getting when they participate in the program Hardy coordinates? The coordinator who believes queerness leads to the demise of our nation (beliefs he did not recant in his apology)? Or the coordinator who insists that, despite those beliefs, he will still treat everyone fairly?
Those are unfair questions to expect any student to answer, especially queer students. Not with how much money students have invested in their education. Not with how much power Hardy has as a program coordinator. Certainly not with the consequences which comes with deciding the answer to that question incorrectly.
For these reasons, Hardy should do the honorable thing and resign. Perhaps he can find an institution more in line with his sensibilities.
But if he doesn’t, the school should step in and fire him.
Either hate is not an Aggie value, or it is. We’re about to find out.

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