Thursday, March 10, 2011

School Honor Code Gets Attention-Editorial


      All last week the media became very hyped up about a college basketball student suspended for having sex with his girl friend.  You might think that unusual but at Brigham Young University it is not. A university affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

        From the beginning of the application process to this school, you have to read and sign an honor code which specifically states that you will abstain from smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, coffee, tea and sex, if you are single. There is also a dress code.  I should know about such things because I was a student there from 1977 to 1982.

      Most colleges and universities don’t care about honor codes. By all means, they want hard working, honest students who excel but as far as getting students to sign an honor code to not drink alcohol or smoke, wear modest clothes and not have sex? To them that would be impossible; but not to Brigham Young University. Because it is a privately owned church school their requirements are on a higher plane and the entire student body who attend, whether a member of the LDS church or not, knows what is expected of them.

       The greatest outcome of this whole fiasco is that Brandon Davies, the basketball player in question, came forward on his own admission and told of his experience. This was really bad timing on his part because the BYU Cougars were ranked number 3 in the country and were in the running for the number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament which is the highest ranking BYU ever had in basketball.  But he was honest.  Not only was he honest, the school stuck to their guns and suspended him off the basketball team for the rest of the season.  What other school would do such a thing?  There is big money in big sports especially when the school does well.  BYU officials knew that, but more importantly the honor code is a signed document that you will uphold this standard and they did what they had to do.

     Without Davies playing they already lost to unranked New Mexico so their dream of being the top seed is over.  Tough choices but in the long run integrity has been established.  Brandon Davies will forever be marked as the honest student who came forward with his admission and for BYU to follow through on their suspension.  Imagine if they didn’t do anything because he was the star player and looked the other way, other students would have pushed the envelope in the honor code as well and expect the same treatment.

      As the Washington Post reported: “BYU is a one-of-a-kind school and the only school with principles and honor codes. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if such principles and standards were so well and routinely enthroned that when they were applied in cases of honor code violations, they didn’t generate coast to coast publicity?” 

       Even better: if these same principles were applied to all universities for our future workforce.  What a different that would make!

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