ALLOW BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY LGBTQIA STUDENTS SAFETY
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A PETITION TO ALL COMPANIES/CORPORATIONS WORKING WITH BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY (BYU) AND TO THE BYU HONOR CODE OFFICE (HCO) [ATTN: ADOBE, ESPN, NCAA, NIKE, ETC.]
In the past few weeks, the Brigham Young University Honor Code Office has provided a series of tumultuous changes involving LGBTQIA students who attend BYU campuses. The BYU Honor Code Office entirely removed language from the Honor Code contract on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. The Honor Code stated “same-sex romantic behavior” was, and has always been, against the rules which BYU expects all of its students to follow in order to stay enrolled at the university. If students were found to be breaking Honor Code conduct they could face suspension and even expulsion from the university. As this specific vocabulary was removed from the Honor Code, on February 19, students were led to believe having no “same-sex romantic behavior” was no longer a stipulation of the Honor Code. Students took their own precautions and spoke with Honor Code Office representatives regarding the matter. Many students did not receive responses to emails, yet there were multiple reports of students who had met with Honor Code Office faculty. Students who had met with HCO faculty were led to believe “same-sex romantic behavior” was now allowed on campus and among students attending the university. Many LGBTQIA students celebrated the Honor Code change, kissing in front of Brigham Young’s statue (https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2020/02/19/byu-appears-remove/ https://twitter.com/fremlo_/status/1230238634684502016?s=20
These victories were celebrated until today, when BYU published a letter stating “same-sex romantic behavior” is still not allowed among students under the Honor Code, despite not being specifically mentioned in their Honor Code contract. Paul V. Johnson, Commissioner of the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stated in the letter,
“Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code,” (https://twitter.com/BYU/status/1235267296970473472?s=20
Many LGBTQIA students who have felt safe enough to share their sexuality/gender identity have expressed extreme dismay toward the university for causing suicidality. Among those are tweets from @davislhilton:
“Here’s a fun tip @BYU: I almost killed myself at your school. There was not a single day where I could express my gender identity or sexuality while I was in attendance. I’m happy I chose to leave and move on, I would never have grown into the beautiful individual I am with you.” (https://twitter.com/davislhilton/status/1235317046688309254?s=20
Among students who have been in the spotlight in the midst of BYU’s Honor Code mess is also Franchesca Lopez @fremlo_, expressing,
“@BYU you have made me more suicidal in the past two months than I have ever been my entire life. This is entirely your doing and I have never felt so isolated and unloved. I don’t even know what to say or do,” (https://twitter.com/fremlo_/status/1235267278301614080?s=20
LGBTQIA students are now unsure of what will happen next. Large numbers of students fear suspension and expulsion, which could result in the cancellation of university credit hours. A change is vital to provide a safe education for LGBTQIA students at BYU. Without any change to the Honor Code policies, LGBTQIA students will be forced to continue to attend BYU in fear, heavily straining their mental health. LGBTQIA students, and teens, in Utah need help and support to live happy and healthy lives.
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