PROVO -- Many students at Brigham Young University are working to change a campus policy that's as old as the school itself -- petitioning for BYU dining services to offer caffeinated beverages on campus.
The push to have caffeine on campus started last week after the LDS Church came out with a statement saying that contrary to popular belief, the Word of Wisdom "does not mention the use of caffeine."
Carri Jenkins, spokeswoman for BYU, says that dining services don't offer caffeinated beverages because there is no demand for them. At least one Facebook page and one petition have been started to prove just the opposite.
"I heard the statement that there was no caffeine because there was no demand and I thought that was pretty ridiculous and just wanted show there is a demand for caffeine on campus," said Skyler Thiot, who started the BYU for Caffeine Facebook page. He says the initial response to the Facebook page was very negative.
"It is interesting, in the first few days we had a lot of people who were very opposed to what we are doing. I got messages saying what I was doing was wrong morally and against what the church believed in," Thiot said. "There is some sort of cultural lore that caffeine is a sin and those people who drink it are lesser Mormons. I wasn't raised that way and I felt super vindicated when the church came out saying it wasn't a sin and that is part of the reason I wanted to start the page."
As of 8 p.m. Monday, the Facebook page had more than 1,100 likes. He says, however, they don't have any sort of goal in mind and that they haven't spoken with dining services to discuss changing the policy if there is enough support.
Jenkins says right now dining services is focused on other issues.
"I can tell you this is a very busy time for dining services and their focus is putting out 30,000 meals a day," Jenkins said. "Our dining manager says their focus is just providing quality service right now."
Jenkins couldn't address how many students would need to sign a petition in order for a change to be put in place or if they would even consider changing the policy even if there was enough support.
Thiot says that at least if they get enough students in support of caffeine on campus BYU officials won't be able to cite low demand as the reason for not offering caffeine.
"They won't be able to say anymore that they don't have the demand," Thiot said. "They will have to let everyone know what the real reason is, that caffeine is a Mormon gray area and they don't want to offend people. But they will know for sure there is a demand and then they can make the choice."
Right now caffeine is allowed on BYU campus but is not sold in any of the vending machines or dining outlets on campus.
There is also a BYU against Caffeine Facebook page that had only nine likes Monday afternoon.