Thoughts on the BYU Honor Code
It’s a good day to be a Cougar fan.
In fact, every day is a good day to be a Cougar fan.
Of course I am saddened by the dismissal of Brandon Davies from the BYU Basketball team for an Honor Code violation. I was getting pulled into the hype of the season. I found myself watching ESPN (gasp) voluntarily! I spent time watching Jimmer Fredette backstory videos and watching for tweets to pop up from celebrities giving him props for his scoring skills. Last night’s loss was tough. Really tough. Obviously Brandon Davies is a game changer, but the loss last night doesn’t change my love for BYU one bit.
I didn’t choose to go to BYU for its sports programs.
I didn’t choose to go to BYU for its academic chops.
I didn’t choose to go to BYU for its low tuition and housing rates.
Nope, I chose to go to BYU because of the Honor Code.
Growing up in California there were a handful of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at all of the schools I attended. For whatever reason there were few my age or in my grade and I rarely had a best friend that was also LDS. All of my high school friends were members of other faiths or no faith at all. They are all fun, outgoing and moral people but I always longed to be around people with my same standards. I was uncomfortable when my homecoming date threw the school kegger after the dance and I had to find my own way home. I was uncomfortable when a friend of mine frequently dared me to say @#$%@. “Come on Brenda, just say it, it’s not even that bad of word.” I was uncomfortable when my friends decided to watch a porn movie and I had to leave the room until my ride showed up.
When I arrived at my dorm room and met 5 other girls with my same standards, who had had very similar experiences growing up, it was like I walked into an oasis of light. I would go back and relive those four years of my college life again in a heartbeat. I was so happy, and I owe so much of my success in life to BYU. I felt the love of God during my years on campus and when I visit as an alum. That is what makes me a Cougar Fan.
There are currently a lot of questions surrounding the Honor Code and what life is like at BYU.
What is the Honor Code?
The Honor Code is as follows:
As a matter of personal commitment, faculty, administration, staff, and students of Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University—Hawaii, Brigham Young University—Idaho, and LDS Business College seek to demonstrate in daily living on and off campus those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will
- Be honest
- Live a chaste and virtuous life
- Obey the law and all campus policies
- Use clean language
- Respect others
- Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
- Participate regularly in church services
- Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
- Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code
Are there sorority and frat parties?
No. There are no sororities or fraternities on the BYU campuses. In lieu of the Greek system of organization we are organized into wards [church congregations] where social experiences are planned at least weekly. Wards are organized geographically so you socialize and worship with people who live near you. I made a lot of friends in my classes as well.
What do kids do for fun if they aren’t drinking?
I can only give you my experiences. We loved to dance, so we would attend the campus dances. There were also comedy troops that performed live shows on campus and at local clubs. Those were fun. We would frequently go up Provo canyon and have bonfires. We played a lot of games, went disco rollerskating, planned picture scavenger hunts, attended ward (church) activities, and attended to local music concerts. I had something fun to do nearly every night of my collegiate life. It was hard to carve out time for my studies.
What happens if you are found to be in violation of the Honor Code?
Well it depends. The severity and or frequency of the violation impacts the Honor Code Office’s decisions. Most violations only get a warning. Violations of dress and grooming standards typically get a warning. But I did have a friend who was suspended one semester for a chastity violation.
Who turns students into the Honor Code?
There are students who feel that it is their religious duty to become a vigilante. But honestly I think most of the major honor code violations are actually confessed to by a person who wants to come clean not only with the school but with God. BYU students really are a different breed. There may be some students who are motivated by guilt but most are driven by a duty to God. My friend who got suspended took his lumps, learned from the experience and moved on. Some students who have run ins with the Honor Code decide that BYU is not the school for them and transfer to someplace that feels more comfortable. Others find like-minded friends and disregard the honor code without ever being found out. You can probably find a little of everything at BYU, especially with over 25,000 students, but my experience was that a vast majority of the student body were living by the honor code.
Are all BYU students Mormon?
No. In fact my trend of having friends of other faiths continued at BYU. But most students at the BYU campuses are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There was only one college I wanted to attend when I was filling out my college applications my Senior year of high school: BYU. I wanted the whole experience. I wanted to be surrounded by people with my own standards. I wanted to take religion courses as part of my academic experience. I wanted to worship God openly with my classmates. I wanted to make lifetime friends who I could trust and rely upon for the rest of my life. I got all that and more from BYU.
The sports pundits and bloggers can talk to they’re blue in the face about how rigorous moral standards will reduce the quality of talent attracted to BYU, but today is a good day to be a Cougar fan. As long as BYU continues to hold it’s standards, regardless of consequence, every day will be a good day to be a Cougar fan.