Spotlight: The BYU Honor Code

Taking a closer look at a possibly outdated concept.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Spotlight: The BYU Honor Code

Let me start out by saying that I fully understand that a university can set whatever standards and practices they want inside the letter of the law and that any students who CHOOSE to attend this school is making a commitment to honor those standards and is open to punishment for not adhering to them. Nobody, except maybe for parents, are forcing students to attend certain universities.

Now that being said, I really think that BYU’s ‘Honor Code’ is an outdated practice that puts too much pressure on students during an age range where there is more that enough pressure to begin with.

Brigham Young is a school owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the code is a reflection of the beliefs of the church. They ascribe to policies that prohibit certain things from entering the body; from the understanding like drugs and alcohol to the absurd like coffee, tea and tobacco. They don’t allow for premarital sex, pornography, cursing or jokes that borderline inappropriate  gender-specific relations (ie sexually harassing).

If your homosexual, you can be homosexual, but only in stated preference. What this means is that you can’t do absolutely anything with your partner for fear of expulsion and by anything I mean even the little things like kissing or hugging in an inappropriate manner. It should also be noted for equality sakes, or lack-thereof, that heterosexual couples are allowed to make out, just not have sex.

All these things, along with some I didn’t mention, are fine from a religious standpoint to follow but setting these standards in a college atmosphere puts a ton of unrealistic expectations upon students.

I applaud the school for adhering to its principles, even in the face of damaging itself with the enforcement of them, as seen recently with their basketball team pulling their starting center Brandon Davis in the midst of a potential title run by the team, it’s just that I believe that many of these principles are outdated and honestly have no place being enforced upon a group of young adults.

Like stated earlier, nobody is making students chose BYU as their college destination (except the parents), so it’s on them to follow these policies. The fact that I think these policies are a little archaic is my own belief, a belief that is within the rights of the United States Constitution, the same constitution that grants BYU the right to make any type of standards possible they want within legal reason. 

In the end, the fault of Davis’s removal from the basketball team, the event that triggered this spotlight on BYU, is his own. He willingly had premarital sex (the offense that allegedly caused his dismissal), a violation of the code, and admitted to this fact. He is off the team through his own actions, actions that he had to know were bound to get him in trouble. There is no question on this fact through the eyes of the school.

The question on the appropriateness of the code itself, however, is one for us to speculate on.