Maintain the "Honor Code" at BYU
Maintain the "Honor Code" at BYU
Currently, there is a campaign going about social media petitioning the current BYU Honor Code that presents interesting ideas, but ultimately does nothing to further them.
BYU requires that students live by a system of rules that make it distinct from most other universities. Disregard or rejection of these principles can lead to disciplinary action and, when the occasion merits, expulsion on the part of the University.
The rules BYU students choose to live by (known as the Honor Code) are broken up into 2 basic groups: Commandments from God, and University Policies. Upon observation, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or anyone familiar with basic lifestyle decisions taken by its members, will recognize this natural division. For instance, the Honor Code requires that BYU faculty and students do not drink alcoholic beverages, which is considered a sin by the Church of Jesus Christ and requires repentance. Having a beard, on the other hand, is found nowhere in church doctrine to be sinful, but is still maintained in the Honor Code.
The petition purports the goal of helping people receive forgiveness, and that students should feel free to seek out ecclesiastical aid, but its solution contains nothing of this. Instead, it focuses on rules that, clearly, are simply university policies that have nothing to do with the salvation of those who break them. Instead of removing subjects like:
Drugs and Alcohol
Sex outside of marriage
which are all areas where perpetrators should seek aid in the repentance process and might not due to fear of BYU disciplinary actions, they suggest the removal of:
No beards or long hair
Shorts have to be knee-length or longer
Visitors of the opposite sex can't visit your bedroom or bathroom
as being the policies needing change. It is true that sometimes people view the Honor Code as a standard of righteousness, but anyone who knows the code well should also understand that it is in no way religious. The policies not contained within the doctrine of Christ’s Church are clearly there for the sake of the university. The universal professionalism of dressing modestly, a clean shaven face, and avoiding the bedrooms of members of the opposite sex, for example, are all put in place to increase professionalism of BYU students and nothing else. And that alone gives a reason for these rules to exist.
Can the Honor Code be changed? Of course it can! It was implemented by students and faculty decades ago, and in no way is it binding doctrine, except in the case that we should keep promises we make (the 9th commandment). Does that mean that we have to change these principles that in no way affect the redemption of those that follow them? No, because they serve a purpose apart from the redemption of the human race - they exist simply to attempt to provide a more orderly university.
The only real concern our generation should have towards the Honor Code is if it prevents people from repenting or reporting criminal behaviors, in which case the solution really should deal more with how ecclesiastical leaders treat confessions and how reports are investigated by BYU police, and not so much with how BYU helps provide a safe, intellectual, and spiritual environment for its students. Until a logical way is proposed to do so and legislation proposed, it is within the best interests of the university (students and employees alike) to maintain the Honor Code as is.
As a BYU student who appreciates BYU's efforts to maintain and instill honor in its students, I ask that you sign below as a demonstration of solidarity towards our institution of education. While we should be open to improvements, we should not instantly assume that change is always progress.