Calendar designer gets hearing

PROVO, Utah — The designer of a Mormon beefcake calendar met with Brigham Young University officials on Friday in an attempt to secure his diploma, which was withheld in the fall.

Chad Hardy was denied his bachelor’s degree in communication studies from BYU in September, a month after walking through graduation ceremonies.

In a letter to Hardy, a school official said a nonacademic hold on the diploma was the result of Hardy’s excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU is a private university owned by the Mormon church.

The Las Vegas man met with BYU Dean of Students Vernon Heperi for a review Friday.

In a recording of the meeting, Heperi says the review would help him determine whether he could “make an exception to university policy and grant the diploma,” regardless of Hardy’s excommunication.

A written decision from Heperi is not expected for several weeks, Hardy said after the meeting.

Hardy was only offered the review after a volley of letters were exchanged by his Salt Lake City-based attorney, Stephen Clark, and BYU’s general counsel, Michael Orme.

University officials cited confidentiality reasons in refusing to publicly discuss the specifics of Hardy’s case. They have explained, however, that BYU students must be in both academic and ecclesiastical good standing to qualify for graduation.

That includes honor code standards that reflect the values of the Mormon church. Excommunication would leave a student at odds with the honor code and therefore ineligible for graduation.

Over the course of the hour-long meeting, Heperi focused his questions to Hardy on elements of the BYU honor code. He asked about Hardy’s honesty with others, church attendance and beliefs, adherence to health codes that ban the use of alcohol, coffee and abuse of drugs. Other questions focused on Hardy’s sexual relationships, including same-sex relationships, and use of pornographic materials. Hardy objected to the line of questioning, saying they should be related to his excommunication.

“Anything outside of that is inappropriate,” he said.

Hardy was excommunicated from the church in July after a disciplinary hearing with church officials in Las Vegas, where he lives.

Officially, church leaders have said Hardy was excommunicated for “conduct unbecoming” a church member.

Hardy says the punishment was for his role in producing “Men on Mission,” a 2008 calendar that featured photos of shirtless returned church missionaries. Hardy also produced a 2009 edition.

Hardy has acknowledged he stopped attending church in 2002, the same year he left BYU a few credits short of completing a degree.

In 2008, he resumed his education through an online, independent study program, which was completed in June.


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