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Email attacking gay candidate for school office circulates UVU campus

An email asking students to vote against an openly gay candidate for school office circulated the Utah Valley University. The email said that Tom Hawkins, a candidate for vice president of clubs and organizations, could not be trusted because he is gay. After the votes were tallied on March 7, he was informed that he lost the race.

The email was sent to clubs and club contacts through the school’s email server and the identity of the sender is unknown. He or she simply signed the letter, “a concerned student.” Hawkins’ candidacy was unique in that only club members and club presidencies are allowed to vote for the position, making it much easier for an email to reach all the possible voters.

“Because of Tom Hawkins’ sexuality his judgment is impaired, and biased. This is a risky thing as he will be imposing his biasis (sic) and judgments into all of the clubs and organizations on campus,” the email read. “If we are to allow a gay student into student government, next they will be allowing students to advocate for same sex marriage. Because of our traditions, beliefs, and values here in Utah, and specifically Utah County, we cannot afford to let this person into the VP position. This will affect every aspect of clubs and organizations. We must do anything to spread the word to any and all of our fellow students that have any influence with any clubs or organizations here on campus.”

“When I first read the letter, I was devastated,” said Hawkins, who is currently the president of UVU Spectrum, the queer-student group. “I thought about just calling it quits. I didn’t sign up to be personally attacked like this. But I am going to finish it. No matter what else happens, I am going to run a good, clean race.”

While he said he does not know who sent the email or how the perpetrator(s) had access to the server, he does not believe it came from one of his direct competitors.

“I have worked with the other teams and my opponent. I absolutely do not believe it was her who sent it. She has been terrific to work with and I don’t know who would do this, but it wasn’t her,” Hawkins said.

The letter continued to say that Hawkins’ sexuality would affect every aspect of the clubs and would even lead to the destruction of marriage being an institution between one man and one woman.

“We as students of UVU must stand up for what we believe to be right and prove that sexual orientation plays an intricate part in what we believe, how we function and interact with people, and effects it has on the school. If we do not put an end to this now, and keep this candidate from getting into office, it is a possibility he will let his personal beliefs, biasis (sic), and beliefs, influence the way he performs his duties and how he manages things with clubs,” the letter stated. “If we allow Tom Hawkins to be elected, we are all admitting to ourselves (sic) that homosexuality is OK. Stand true to your beliefs. Hold true to the rod, and do not let this sinning student win.”

The UVU administration is looking into how the email was sent and who exactly sent it, but no leads have been established, Hawkins said.

“I just hope people can look past this ugliness and vote based on a platform and who they think will do the best job. Sexuality shouldn’t play a part in it at all,” Hawkins said.

UVU officials released a statement condemning the letter.

“As an institution, we pride ourselves on being a place that is hospitable to all. We condemn intimidation, harassment, and discrimination against any student. Inclusivity is one of our core themes and values as a university,” wrote Mike Rigert, communications manager at UVU. “The reported viewpoint represents one anonymous individual’s perspective and is not shared by the University. In fact, we denounce such vitriolic, uncivil and counterproductive dialog.”

Here is the full, unedited content of the letter:

Club presidencies and anyone else it may concern,
It has recently come to my attention there is a gay candidate running for VP of clubs and organizations. This is something we should all be concerned about both as a student body and as any club or organization here on campus. Because of Tom Hawkin’s sexuality his judgment is impaired, and biased. This is a risky thing as he will be imposing his biasis and judgments into all of the clubs and organizations on campus. If we are to allow a gay student into student government, next they will be allowing students to advocate for same sex marriage. Because of our traditions, beliefs, and values here in Utah, and specifically Utah county, we can not afford to let this person into the VP position. This will affect every aspect of clubs and organizations. We must do anything to spread the word to any and all of our fellow students that have any influence with any clubs or organizations here on campus. Because of Tom’s sexual orientation, he will not be able to perform his job the same way his opponent can. We as students of UVU must stand up for what we believe to be right and prove that sexual orientation plays an intricate part in what we believe, how we function and interact with people, and effects it has on the school. If we do not put an end to this now, and keep this candidate from getting into office, it is a possibility he will let his personal beliefs, biasis, and beliefs, influence the way he performs his duties and how he manages things with clubs. Change is always good, however when you are instilling change the majority of the population does not agree with, change is not good. With everyone I have talked to, students do not want a gay student in student government. If we allow Tom Hawkins to be elected, we are all admitting to ourselfs that homosexuality is ok. Stand true to your beliefs. Hold true to the rod, and do not let this sinning student win.

A concerned student

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2 Comments

  1. This anonymous person who is afraid of coming out their self. Just showed how brave Hawkins is. Wouldn’t that email be the same as what its implying. Forcing ones beliefs on another. Fear breeds idiots. I stand with Hawkins. 🙂

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