BYU honor code enforcement should not be a scare tactic

Within the past year, there has been quite a bit of attention and noise in regard to Brigham Young University’s honor code.

Being a private college supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it only makes sense that those in attendance of the school would be required to uphold the same standards. I believe I can say with confidence that every college in the United States has some form of an honor code — a list of rules and regulations for the students of the college to follow, as well as a list of consequences. These students agree to follow these rules when they get accepted. Typically, an honor code covers the basics against cheating and plagiarism. BYU’s honor code goes a step further to uphold the standards embraced by the LDS church.

The BYU honor code in and of itself is not the issue. The issue is in the way the BYU honor code is perceived by those studying and working at the university. Yes, there have been changes made recently, but these are merely baby steps in the right direction.

Why is it that before recent months, only a few were coming forward with their experiences dealing with the Honor Code Office? Understandably, it is quite taboo to bring up one’s faults on a public platform. The honor code is viewed as a very serious thing, so logically, breaking the honor code is something individuals wish to sweep under the rug. However, the lack of publicity on what goes on and what the process looks like leaves too much to the imagination. It allows a few individuals to exaggerate and fabricate experiences consisting of horrors few want to believe are possible. Unfortunately, there is usually no one to contradict these extreme fictions and the fear builds in students.

College is a time of growth. It is a time where most young adults really come into their personalities as separate entities from their families. College can be a time where students veer from what they were taught as kids. BYU’s honor code keeps its students accountable. It is a reminder of the standards members of the LDS faith wish to uphold. But the honor code enforcement should never be used as a fear tactic. Instead, it should be used as a strengthening tool in the battles students experience in an ever-demoralizing world.

— Ariana Lapine, Provo