Brigham Young University announced changes Wednesday to the school’s website for the Honor Code Office.
The announcement comes following months of on-campus protests and online criticism for the school’s handling of Honor Code complaints and infractions.
According to the announcement made Wednesday, the website changes attempt to give students additional resources and information about Honor Code Office procedures.
Students at the university, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, agree to abide by BYU’s honor code in order to attend. The code bans actions such as the consumption of alcohol, premarital sex and being in the bedroom of someone of the opposite sex, sets visiting hours for student housing and bans beards on male students.
“In order to help reduce misunderstanding and anxiety, we’ve learned we need to better educate the campus community about what a correct process looks like,” said Kevin Utt, director of BYU’s Honor Code Office. “Being transparent helps a student articulate if something isn’t going according to plan and provides the opportunity for concrete feedback.”
The update includes:
- A Statement of Good Faith, which informs students that they are “presumed to NOT be in violation of an Honor Code policy unless they either accept responsibility or the investigation process makes such a determination.
- An option for a support person, where students can choose a friend, faculty or staff member to attend meetings with the Honor Code Office with them.
- Information on the appeals process, which lets students know their options for appealing decisions of the Honor Code Office.
- Changing the titles of Honor Code staff members to administrators from counselors, as their role is student conduct professionals, not therapists.
In April, students at the university planned a sit-in and a social media campaign urging the university to adjust the Honor Code, specifically calling out the way the code was being enforced.
In May, the university made updates to the Honor Code, including allowing students to know the nature of the reported violation at the beginning of the meeting; not allowing anonymous reporting, except in cases where safety is a concern and better informing students of the investigation process.
The changes to the website announced Wednesday aim to help students with transparency of the process.
Utt said that the feedback from students and an understanding of student perceptions were an important part of the review of the school’s Honor Code procedures