When Chad Hardy created the “Men on a Mission” Calendar of shirtless Mormon hunks, he thought is was a fun idea. Church elders disagreed and excommunicated him. Now, Brigham Young University has denied him a diploma and said that he cannot receive on until he is reinstated by the Mormon church. This could make for a very interesting constitutional and contractual challenge.
On July 13, Hardy was excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a Sept. 30 letter from Norman B. Finlinson, the school’s executive director of student academic and advisement services, said a nonacademic hold was placed on Hardy’s record. He informed Hardy: “If in the future you are reinstated as a member of the church in good standing, you are invited to contact my office regarding your possible eligibility for the awarding of a degree.”
That raises some interesting questions about the duty of BYU to issue a diploma that has been earned by a student, even one found to be “faithless.” Assuming that BYU receives grants and other public money, it could create a basis for a challenge. Moreover, this is church-owned university but it is not a seminary. It issues recognized degrees and has sought to refute the image as merely a religious rather than an educational institution.
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