University of Sydney students have started a petition calling for the resignation of the head of campus security, after a tribunal found he was homophobic in his previous career as a police officer.

Last week, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found former Newtown Local Area Command Superintendent Simon Hardman discriminated against four gay officers in 2015 when he filed a complaint against them alleging they belonged to a “tight knit group of like-minded homosexuals” and had an “anecdotal reputation for loose morals and reckless behaviour”, including “recreational drug use”.  

Hardman left the NSW Police Force and joined University of Sydney as Head of Campus Security and Emergency Management in 2017. Over the weekend, University of Sydney’s Queer Action Collective launched a Change.org petition calling for Hardman to resign. 

 

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“By allowing Mr. Hardman to continue fulfilling his duties following this landmark tribunal, the University sends a clear message to its students, staff, and alumni their complacency regarding discrimination against LGBTQI+ people,” the petition reads. So far, it has collected almost 150 signatures. 

A spokesperson for University of Sydney said they are “aware of the [NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal] ruling and will carefully consider its conclusions”.

“We note this matter occurred before Mr Hardman joined the University,” the spokesperson told the Star Observer. 

“Any form of discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated on our campus; the wellbeing of our students, staff and broader community is our first priority. Support is available to any of our community who feel unsafe on campus, or experience behaviour that could be regarded as discriminatory.”

An email sent to the university’s Pride Network by the Vice-Chancellor, viewed by the Star Observer, acknowledged the ruling involving Hardman could be “distressing”.

“You may be aware of the recent ruling involving the University’s Head of Campus Security, Simon Hardman. I understand that this may be a distressing time for some staff and students,” Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence wrote.

“However, I want to assure you that the University takes this matter very seriously and will carefully consider the conclusions of the ruling. As you know, this matter occurred before Mr Hardman joined the University.

“The safety and security of our staff and students is our top priority and as Vice-Chancellor I am also deeply committed to the fair and equitable treatment of all who visit our campuses.”

Earlier this year, University of Sydney student newspaper Honi Soit reported campus security guards under Hardman’s command were accused of using a homophobic slur in 2018. 

 

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