Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Would You Survive at Brigham Young University?

Exploring the strict honor code of the college in Provo, Utah.

Brigham Young University is a private, religiously affiliated university in Provo, Utah. All the students of BYU are bound by the “Honor Code”,  a stringent set of rules that all students, LDS (Latter Day Saint / a.k.a Mormon) or otherwise, must follow.

     The BYU Honor Code is somewhat short, but jam packed with fun rules that everyone MUST follow. The crux of the BYU Honor Code is maintaining the “ecclesiastical endorsement” of your minister on campus. Essentially, this means you must stay in the good graces of the church and the college in general. There are some basic rules, like don’t drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, vape, or abuse any substance. As a result of this, BYU has a reputation as a “dry” campus. Student testimony has informed me that students do follow these rules. The TikToks you see about peoples’ favorite party drinks being “Sprite” and “water” aren’t satire. The first somewhat strange rule is that coffee and tea are also counted as substances that can be abused. It is true, though, that many religions ban consumption of certain items of food or drink. The most general rule seems to be “be honest”, which I suppose anyone can get behind. However, I’m not sure that everyone I know at Magnet would be able to comply with this part of the Code. You also have to regularly attend Church services if you are LDS, but if you aren’t you don’t have to regularly attend services. Keep in mind, though, that this means that if you are a Mormon coming in and you start to leave the church and stop attending services you could potentially be kicked out of the university. 

     It’s also a rule that you can’t use any profane or vulgar language on campus. Additionally, you must follow the “Grooming Code” of the campus, which dictates that men must be clean shaven (with the exception of a mustache), that you can’t dye your hair, that you must be neat, clean, and modest in appearance, and that you must dress in a way that would always cover the “Temple Garment” whether you’re wearing it or not. Interestingly, it seems as if the reasoning behind this decision was to comply with the scriptural grooming precedent. This is a tad ironic as Jesus is usually depicted with a beard and long hair. 

      You also have to comply with the housing policy. You have to live on campus for two semesters, and you cannot live with members of the opposite sex. If you are found out to be living with someone of a different gender you can be kicked out of the house. Also, you can only have visitors on campus from 9:00AM to midnight (1:30AM on Friday). 

     There are also some more extreme rules of the Honor Code that everyone must comply with. The Code reads, “Live a chaste and virtuous life, including abstaining from sexual relations outside marriage between a man and a woman.” Again, this is a somewhat common religious practice. In my personal opinion, this policy may be responsible for the quick nature of LDS engagements. It’s rumored that students get engaged to be married after two dates. This is speculation, though, as I cannot see into the minds of BYU students. The next line reads, “Living a chaste and virtuous life also includes abstaining from same-sex romantic behavior.” It’s an official policy of the University to not be gay. This rule is, frankly, ridiculous. The fact that there are still institutions in the United States in 2024 that don’t allow you to act on being gay is insane. Notice, additionally, the word “romantic”, implying that any behavior between same sex couples is explicitly forbidden. It is not the business of the LDS Church OR BYU as an institution who their students romantically engage with. This policy is literally archaic. 

     The worst part of the Honor Code at BYU is that it encourages others to comply with the Honor Code. Students are, therefore, encouraged to report violations to the Honor Code. These reports can elicit investigations into the students and potentially lead to them being expelled. Another good example of why this is dangerous is when it comes to sexual assault victims. If someone reports a sexual assault to the Honor Code office, then the reporter can get in trouble for any rules they were breaking while they were assaulted. If they were wearing immodest clothing (shorts that were too short), if they were drinking, or in the household of a member of the opposite sex, they can ALSO get in trouble (even expelled) for being sexually assaulted. 

     BYU’s problems don’t stem from the religious doctrine that was incorporated into the honor code, but rather the culture that was created as a result of the honor code itself. Brigham Young University is a religious institution, and while some of the rules are archaic and homophobic, it is “part of the package”. That doesn’t justify the rules, but how many people are coming to BYU thinking that it will be accepting of their sexuality? The real issues with the University come from the support of the “snitch culture”. Veteran’s of the TikTok BYU videos will know the term “lust busting”, which is when students report their sexual activity to the Honor Code office. Beyond just sexual involvement, you can report gay couples holding hands on campus, people drinking in their dorms, or even women spending the night at the house of a man. Is this REALLY a good community to be cultivating? Won’t this just make students hate each other? How much of these “reports” are going to be out of genuine concern for the breaking of the code rather than just spite or revenge? I would recommend reading into the policies of whatever school you plan on going to just to ensure that the institution doesn’t advocate for creating a community based on turning in other students for the things they do in their free time, and not necessarily on university property. 



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