Join 3,425 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


BYU’s honor code requires students to live a chaste and virtuous life
March 3, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Third ranked NCAA basketball team Brigham Young University dismissed starting center Brandon Davies for violating the school's honor code by having premarital sex with his girlfriend.

The decision likely ends BYU's hopes for a Final Four after a fantastic season at 27-2. In the first game following his dismissal, BYU was crushed at home by New Mexico 82-64.
posted by T.D. Strange (153 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey baby, what say you come over tonight and we violate the BYU honor code?

What? No! I just meant we'd have some coffee.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:13 AM on March 3, 2011 [104 favorites]


Wait, what? If that's true, then shouldn't they ban just about every college athlete? Or is it only a myth that the athletes get more action than the computer science department?

Or is this more that he's getting in trouble for getting caught?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:13 AM on March 3, 2011


No comment on the actual article, but the Magritte-esque spinning basketball ad that appeared in front of Davies' face made me jump back in my seat a little. Warn a man!
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:13 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Them's the breaks.
posted by CarlRossi at 8:13 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He violated a cultural policy. This is what you get when you mess with religion in the context of promises and premises.
posted by parmanparman at 8:14 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see the NBA adopt this code.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:14 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


BYU is a private, explicitly religious school, owned and operated by the Church of LDS. It isn't exactly like they're being sneaky or underhanded about their standards. The link right next to the "Honor Code Statement" is "Ecclesiastical Endorsement," for crying out loud.

If Davies didn't want to be subject to these restrictions, I'm sure there were plenty of other schools who would be willing to give him a scholarship without them. You pays your money and takes your choice.
posted by valkyryn at 8:15 AM on March 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


I'm torn. Good on them for sticking to principle even if it fucks 'em. But, damn, that's a harsh and unrealistic "honor code" line item.

Is Mr. Davies Mormon?
posted by notsnot at 8:15 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


When do they dismiss the rest of the team for spanking the monkey?
posted by GuyZero at 8:16 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, what? If that's true, then shouldn't they ban just about every college athlete? Or is it only a myth that the athletes get more action than the computer science department?

Except that this is BYU. This is the school that is year-in, year-out the lowest on the "party school" rank. Davies will get into a different school and get handed women as a welcome gift.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:16 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Given that the story is usually that the girl is kicked out (pregnant = proof) and the boy isn't because you cannot prove it was him, and given that usually important athletes before a major game are given immunity for everything, I am sort of impressed they are holding to their principles, as objectionable as I find them.
posted by jeather at 8:16 AM on March 3, 2011 [71 favorites]


People agree to the weirdest rules. Like homeowners associations.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 8:16 AM on March 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


I find it pretty unbelievable that this is the first time a BYU scholarship athlete engaged in the horizontal hokey pokey with a girlfriend/boyfriend/other during their college tenure. Either this guy got ratted out by his roommate or there was something else going on or . . . I mean, how do you "prove" that somebody had sex with someone else, exclusive of someone either witnessing the act, one of the two participants admitting the act, or a pregnancy? I find the entire thing really odd.

Anyway, good luck with future recruiting, BYU!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:18 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I kinda admire him for actually admitting that he broke the rule and that they've stuck by the rule and kicked him out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:19 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


(in other news, the BYU campus is the whitest place I've ever been to. Fuckin' Prague has more black people, I swear.)
posted by notsnot at 8:19 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Davies will get into a different school and get handed women as a welcome gift.

Which is, for the record, pretty fucking sick.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:20 AM on March 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


Pssst, Brandon. It's only pre-marital if you get married.
posted by ODiV at 8:20 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who snitched?
posted by PenDevil at 8:21 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess it says more about my preconceptions of the lifestyles of college athletes in high-ranking mainstream programs than it does about anything else that I honestly can't imagine how they attract enough talent keep their ranking high if the honor code is consistently enforced like this.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the less I can believe it. There's something more to this story. There's no way that's the only guy on the team who's having sex.
posted by pts at 8:22 AM on March 3, 2011


But unmarried sex gave him special basketball powers! Where's your God now, Brigham?
posted by klangklangston at 8:22 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where's your God now, Brigham?

In Albuquerque, apparently.
posted by pts at 8:23 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if this won't backfire. A lot of students who were on the fence about the honor code might turn against it now. Unfortunate that it would be something as banal as a basketball team losing a star player that would change people's minds, but it wouldn't surprise me if that's what happened.

How popular is the honor code with BYU students? Does it enjoy broad support? I wonder if support falls off among 3rd and 4th year students.
posted by jedicus at 8:23 AM on March 3, 2011


I wonder if this won't backfire. A lot of students who were on the fence about the honor code might turn against it now.

What I wouldn't give for a school-wide orgy sit-in to protest the honor code.

Although knowing BYU, the orgy sit-in would be married couples kissing.
posted by incessant at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Years ago, I did a job at BYU Hawaii and had to actually leave campus for a smoke/coffee break. Of course, I didn't object as it was their property. But if this guy wants to deal with a university that has such a policy, then he needs to abide by their rules.
posted by lampshade at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, no, the media just wants you to THINK it was premarital sex. Really what happened is that Davies forgot to turn in his beard waiver.
posted by superfluousm at 8:28 AM on March 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I honestly can't imagine how they attract enough talent keep their ranking high if the honor code is consistently enforced like this.

They are the preeminent Mormon school, so right there they've got a pretty big pool to recruit easily from.
posted by kmz at 8:28 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised he didn't just get married so that they could have sex without breaking the rules; it's, of course, a stupid reason to get married, but still, that's how this usually works.

(For example, 33 of the men on the BYU football squad last season were married.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:30 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be honest, I side with BYU on this. Davies knew the rules of what he would have to do and not have to do when being an student athlete for BYU.

That said...I think it would be awesome if this dude transferred to any other Mountain West College. He could then play against BYU while wearing devil horns and telling his former teammates stuff like "I couldn't believe it...but my penis grew a whole foot after the sex...so yeah...I'm wiccan now. Bitches be all over my shit!"
posted by hal_c_on at 8:31 AM on March 3, 2011 [15 favorites]


I wonder if this won't backfire. A lot of students who were on the fence about the honor code might turn against it now.

Honor codes are, in my opinion, a good thing to have in a university, best of all if people follow it. The code itself is not a problem; Brandon engaged in activities that were against school rules and is being punished for them. In my opinion, it's a bit silly, but people place themselves under all kinds of silly rules and then have to obey them. It's not like we're taking about rules that are immoral and should be broken in protest. This is a religious, Mormon institution where pre-marital sex simply is not allowed. End of story, really. The only thing that makes it newsworthy is that this dismissal will adversely impact the team's chances of winning. Which in a sense is a good thing. While there's nothing juicier than a religious conservative who has a double standard when it comes to their own behavior, it's reassuring when you run into people who actually live by what they say even if you don't agree with it.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:32 AM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


notsnot: "I'm torn. Good on them for sticking to principle even if it fucks 'em. But, damn, that's a harsh and unrealistic "honor code" line item.

Is Mr. Davies Mormon
"

Yes Davies is Mormon and grew up in Utah. Hometown boy. I would like to know what happens to his girlfriend. Is she in school? Mormon? If she is, she has some splaining to do too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:34 AM on March 3, 2011


I wonder if this won't backfire. A lot of students who were on the fence about the honor code might turn against it now.

Keep in mind that every single student at BYU has to agree to the honor code, even those that aren't mormon and don't play sports. For a lot of people it's a selling point. BYU gets a fair amount of international students (non-mormon) students from more conservative cultures because of it.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:35 AM on March 3, 2011


While I don't agree with BYU's honor code, I am glad they are enforcing it. If they didn't enforce it, then, oh, I don't know, they'd be emphasizing and creating even more of an "upper class" in the student body by making it okay for the REALLY IMPORTANT STUDENTS to violate the code.

Essentially, what Deathalicious says. You can't go to BYU and be on the fence about the honor code. You can't go to Davidson and be on the fence about the (non-religious) honor code. You attend school there, you are signing on. There's no "students against the honor code." Those people go to school elsewhere to begin with or they get expelled/leave.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:36 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the same school where if you want to grow a beard, you have to apply for a beard exception.
posted by fatbobsmith at 8:38 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the article: "Davies was one of Fredette's favorite targets in the post, ran the floor well and gave the Cougars length and size inside."

Fnarr.
posted by gene_machine at 8:41 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


But if this guy wants to deal with a university that has such a policy, then he needs to abide by their rules.

I'm all for people breaking bullshit rules on the mere basis that they are bullshit rules. Maybe when he applied to BYU and accepted their scholarship he was naive and idealistic about his ability to make it through college without having premarital sex. If an organization tries to control an adult's consensual sexual behavior, I am all for people rejecting that organization's creepy rules no matter what they signed up for.

You attend school there, you are signing on. There's no "students against the honor code." Those people go to school elsewhere to begin with or they get expelled/leave.

At the risk of making a bad analogy, what if the honor code involved something that was unquestionably offensive, such as forbidding contact with people from a certain race? Would people still be applauding the school for enforcing their code and using the "If you don't like it, go to a different school" defense?
posted by burnmp3s at 8:43 AM on March 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


This is the same school where if you want to grow a beard, you have to apply for a beard exception.

There's no reason we shouldn't have a similar law at the federal level.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Brandon Davies was dismissed from BYU's basketball team after he admitted to having sexual relations with his girlfriend"

He must have gotten caught in the act, because who on earth would admit that to these judgmental folks that are going to ruin your athletic career, as well as your team's chances at that whole one shining moment thing.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2011


Wait, I've confused my own personal aesthetic opinions with matters of public policy. Strange how that can happen.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess Islam and Judaism aren't the only religions that ban pork.
posted by jessssse at 8:46 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wolfdog, I favor personal aesthetic opinions implemented as matters of public policy, but only for hipster neck beards. Goatees are okay. Also, sex will be fine, and you can keep playing basketball if you engage in it.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:48 AM on March 3, 2011


He must have gotten caught in the act

There was an ESPN special several years ago about a BYU football player (not Harvey Unga) whose name I can't remember who was hit with a similar penalties for having premarital sex with his girlfriend; he was very circumspect about it and was upfront that he was the only one responsible for violating the honor code (well, his girlfriend also) but he felt that he was singled out and spied upon by his fellow students due to him being black and his girlfriend being white.
posted by Challahtronix at 8:48 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


From the honor code:
"Students are responsible not only to adhere to the Honor Code requirement to be honest but also to assist other students in fulfilling their commitment to be honest."

Having known a number of BYU grads, essentially this means that if you witness an honor code violation but don't report it, you suffer the same fate as the violator.
posted by fatbobsmith at 8:48 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


what if the honor code involved something that was unquestionably offensive, such as forbidding contact with people from a certain race? Would people still be applauding the school for enforcing their code and using the "If you don't like it, go to a different school" defense?

I feel like I'm entitled to distinguish between beliefs I consider mistaken and those I consider morally repugnant.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:50 AM on March 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


How popular is the honor code with BYU students? Does it enjoy broad support? I wonder if support falls off among 3rd and 4th year students.

LDS men and women tend to marry young--most of my friends in high school married as soon as the boys returned from their missions at 21, so the girls were usually even younger than that.

But, the women are encouraged to complete their educations for the most part, so BYU is full of pregnant women with toddlers, getting shit done. So there's that, anyway.

Anyway, BYU's honor code is no secret (my LDS friends discussed it at length when we were kids and all looking at colleges) and I don't really feel sorry for anyone who goes to a religious school and expects that they'll be able to get away with not following the rules.
posted by padraigin at 8:51 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whatever I think of their religious and political views, I have more respect for someone who keeps to their principles than opportunists like the school I graduated from that had an anti-drinking policy so strict it specifically included punishments for drinking at home with your parents on summer break (expulsion), and yet our bought-and-paid-for basketball team had a pile of beer bottles behind their off-campus housing.
posted by nomisxid at 8:52 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like I'm entitled to distinguish between beliefs I consider mistaken and those I consider morally repugnant.

Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.

Morally repugnant enough for you?
posted by jessssse at 8:53 AM on March 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


I can actually visualize a little lightbulb clicking on above this guy's head as the words "Hang on, this might actually be even better than going to BYU, or for that matter, basketball" first materialized dimly in his consciousness.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:53 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"he felt that he was singled out and spied upon by his fellow students due to him being black and his girlfriend being white."

I wondered if there was a hidden interracial thing going on here, but none of the public accounts have mentioned anything overt. Mormons have a rather awkward history regarding race.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:55 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Priesthood holder? I just met 'er!
posted by staggernation at 8:57 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Live by the sword, die by the sword.

NBA draft in 5..., 4..., 3...
posted by vhsiv at 8:59 AM on March 3, 2011


The article also says he "gave the Cougars length and size inside". I bet he did.
posted by w0mbat at 9:01 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


(For example, 33 of the men on the BYU football squad last season were married.)

It might work differently for football players (do they do missions midway through their undergraduate career?), but that's like a third of the football team, which is probably par for the course for a random selection of male BYU undergraduates. The culture is to marry young and, while the football team may be less Mormon than the student body as a whole, I doubt the 33 of them got married to have sex.
posted by hoyland at 9:01 AM on March 3, 2011


Maybe he'd be happier playing for Northwestern
posted by briank at 9:07 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


A commentator on the radio this morning drew an interesting comparison: Cam Newton.

Newton spent much of the second half of the 2010 football season embroiled in a controversy regarding allegations that his father, Cecil Newton, had sought substantial sums of money in return for his son playing for a major-college team, in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.

Newton's case went to the very integrity of the amateur game. The BYU case was entirely internal to the school and completely irrelevant to the game.

BYU bounced Davies' ass, holding him personally responsible. Auburn bent over backward to ensure that Newton could keep playing, saying that Newton wasn't personally involved, that it was all his father's misdeeds.

As twisted as it is, I'm sure there are many people at BYU giving themselves high-fives right now for sticking to their guns.

Gonna be an interesting tournament. It's easy to imagine the finger-pointing if BYU craters, as expected. But can you imagine the reaction if BYU is successful without Davies?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Being a sheep fucking, pedophile, polygamist is still ok?

I'm pretty sure that doing any of those things would also get you kicked off the team.
posted by jessssse at 9:15 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


If someone else ratted him out, I wish it had played out like that scene in The Social Network where the Winklevoss twins appeal to the dean of Harvard (citing Zuckerberg's alleged violations of the student handbook) and he's all like "Brothers, please."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:16 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


But, damn, that's a harsh and unrealistic "honor code" line item.

It's not unrealistic if you're raised in a culture where premarital sex is frowned down upon, dating casually isn't encouraged, and getting married early on is encouraged. Especially if you've always been told that sex is reserved for marriage (or extremely serious and committed relationships), which I don't think is a bad message at all.

I know a lot of women who pretty much never ended up having sex until their mid-twenties. They weren't part of any religion or culture that discouraged it, but they weren't interested in the guys available, and hadn't met guys they thought were worth being in relationships with you get closer to the possibility of not ever having a traditional family), and they were really, really too busy to look for boyfriends (which is looked down upon until . So by default, they remained virgins until they met someone worthwhile.
posted by anniecat at 9:16 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


and given that usually important athletes before a major game are given immunity for everything, I am sort of impressed they are holding to their principles,

As a San Diegan, I do note that they waited until after the SDSU game to do this.
posted by LionIndex at 9:19 AM on March 3, 2011


Yeah, BYU is hosed for the season. As one of the above linked articles says they just lost by 18 points to an unranked team after the suspension.

Frankly as others have pointed out, it's kind of a stupid policy, but, at least the school is even handed and doesn't give a pass to a student because of his athleticism.
posted by edgeways at 9:19 AM on March 3, 2011


Dear BYU students: there is hope for you. You are not obligated to attend that university. It is a fine education, and with your academic skills you have many other options. Please do not feel trapped.

I have a lot of admiration for the culture of LDS. But the sexual restrictions of the religion are not one of the things I admire and the explicit anti-gay status of the church is absolutely reprehensible.
posted by Nelson at 9:20 AM on March 3, 2011


[few comments removed - this is not the hill to plant your "religion is stupid" flag in. If you want to have an all-out argument about religion in general, please go to the MeTa thread already in progress.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:21 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


This story makes me amazed that Jim McMahon made it through his tenure at BYU apparently without incident.
posted by norm at 9:22 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the risk of making a bad analogy, what if the honor code involved something that was unquestionably offensive, such as forbidding contact with people from a certain race?

What analogy? The code explicitly forbids "all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings."

There is no honor in this so-called "honor code."

I don't really understand the compliments to the school for not being hypocritical about it. It's like complimenting a homophobe for rejecting his own son when that son turns out to be gay.
posted by callmejay at 9:26 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't care about enforcing stupid rules. And yes, I'm the one who gets to decide whether a rule is stupid or not.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:29 AM on March 3, 2011


(in other news, the BYU campus is the whitest place I've ever been to.)

Back when I hung around with a bunch of LDS friends in High School, I noticed that the church was preying upon actively recruiting a large number immigrant families. Their dances (oh lord, the dances) generally included a large number of hispanic teenagers and salsa music.

I generally found this equal parts heartening and repulsive (which is more or less how I feel about the Mormon faith in general). It's not at all surprising that immigrants would look for a tight-knit and welcoming community to latch onto.

Although I'm not at all surprised that BYU looks like a dairy aisle, I am a bit surprised that they've either abandoned this recruitment effort, or aren't admitting those people to BYU.

But, eh. At least they don't have double-standards?
posted by schmod at 9:29 AM on March 3, 2011


This is why I don't have sex with Mormons.

It's bad for basketball.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:31 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why don't they wear their special underwear under their uniforms?
posted by haley_joel_osteen at 9:36 AM on March 3, 2011


I don't really understand the compliments to the school for not being hypocritical about it. It's like complimenting a homophobe for rejecting his own son when that son turns out to be gay.

Well, not really. You can choose to go, or not go, to a college with the pre-knowledge that they have idiotic homophobic, sexophobic policies. You can also leave that college if your personal views on the matter evolve while there. You don't get to choose your parents or who raises you.

If you are gay, BYU really isn't the college to attend. It may be a bit unfair, and BYU's policies on the matter is certainty assholish. But, unlike being a child with a family you do have a choice to not attend the private institution.

All the "complements to the institution" are basically just acknowledgments that, whatever else you may legitimately call the idiotic policies, the school is not run by hypocrites (at least in this one area), unlike many other institutions that have unwritten rules concerning athletes, and written enforced rules for everyone else.
posted by edgeways at 9:41 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why assume he was either duped or foolishly ignored the policy when he signed up? Another distinct possibility is that the kid actually is commited to his faith and feels repentant about what he did. Maybe BYU isn't the only one standing by a (seemingly bullshit) policy despite the inconvenient consequences.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 9:43 AM on March 3, 2011


Yeah, BYU is hosed for the season. As one of the above linked articles says they just lost by 18 points to an unranked team after the suspension.

Not that they're not hosed, but they did lose to New Mexico with Davies earlier in the season as well. The Lobos apparently have them figured out.
posted by GodricVT at 9:44 AM on March 3, 2011


Pssst, Brandon. It's only pre-marital if you get married.

Which means that, for any instance of sex between unmarried partners, there is no way of determining that said sex is, in fact, premarital; thus rendering the term meaningless, the honor code unenforceable, and the expulsion invalid.

Boom. Winning.
posted by steambadger at 9:50 AM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


All the "complements to the institution" are basically just acknowledgments that, whatever else you may legitimately call the idiotic policies, the school is not run by hypocrites (at least in this one area), unlike many other institutions that have unwritten rules concerning athletes, and written enforced rules for everyone else.

My point is that their code is so immoral that complimenting their lack of hypocrisy seems misplaced. They don't deserve compliments, they deserve disapproval.
posted by callmejay at 9:59 AM on March 3, 2011


Arbitrary rule consented to by all parties prevents school from winning arbitrary competition designed primarily to make money off the backs of 18-21 year olds. Color me apathetic.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:01 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, not really. You can choose to go, or not go, to a college with the pre-knowledge that they have idiotic homophobic, sexophobic policies. You can also leave that college if your personal views on the matter evolve while there.

Similarly, you could work for or buy from a company with the pre-knowledge that they do not allow their employees or customers to be gay. Anyone who decides to work or shop there makes that choice. And yet no one would defend a company like Walmart refusing to hire or sell goods to gay people.

I understand legally the different requirements between a business and a private educational institution, but on a moral level why is it okay for an organization to behave this way just because they sell an education rather than consumer goods?
posted by burnmp3s at 10:04 AM on March 3, 2011


While I don't agree with BYU's honor code, I am glad they are enforcing it. If they didn't enforce it, then, oh, I don't know, they'd be emphasizing and creating even more of an "upper class" in the student body by making it okay for the REALLY IMPORTANT STUDENTS to violate the code.

Yeah, the last point impresses me, even if I'm undewhelmed by LDS views on, well, most things, and everything to do with human sexuality. It's a private university, right? There are numerous other options, yes? The rules were clear and unambiguous? They're applying across the board? I have a hard time getting outraged.
posted by rodgerd at 10:07 AM on March 3, 2011


superfluousm: "Really what happened is that Davies forgot to turn in his beard waiver."

For those who may not have context here: banning beards has a prejudicial effect on men who are susceptible to razor burn, a category which is disproportionately black men. I'm a white guy with razor burn (who shaves anyway, because I'm stubborn), but for people whose razor burn is more significant than mine, having to shave can create very serious facial aesthetic issues or lead to scarring. Having to prove that one's razor burn is bad enough to get an exemption to a beard policy is frankly pretty insulting.

(Apropos, here's a fun game you can play if you live in a particularly segregated town: walk into a pharmacy in the black part of town, and you should have no problem finding products focused on preventing razor burn. Walk into a pharmacy in the white part of town, and you'll find something suspiciously missing...)
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:09 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know this is beside the point, but how is BYU so good at basketball on a consistent basis? Don't Mormons make up less than 2% of the population? Isn't BYU 98% Mormon? Are they just pretty much guaranteed the best basketball players in Utah? What's their secret?
posted by AceRock at 10:17 AM on March 3, 2011


burnmp3s: I understand legally the different requirements between a business and a private educational institution, but on a moral level why is it okay for an organization to behave this way just because they sell an education rather than consumer goods

Because while the constitution mandates separation of church and state, it also protects religion with the 1st and 14th amendments. This is basics civics in the US. I am 100% morally OK with this arrangement.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:21 AM on March 3, 2011


If you are gay, BYU really isn't the college to attend.

For sure. The problem is a lot of kids going to college don't have a free choice of education. They go to the school their parents choose for them, or their parents will pay for. Doubly so for Mormon kids, I think. It's very difficult at 17 to say "no, mom and dad, actually I'm gay and I'm not going to that hateful university". And the choice that's available may be between being able to be openly gay or getting a good college education. It's a horrible position.

The LDS position on homosexuality is evil. It harms Mormons. In many ways it parallels the institutional racism of LDS until 1978.
posted by Nelson at 10:21 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I’ll bet Dennis “Asshole Mormons” Rodman has some choice comments about this. When the Bulls were playing in Salt Lake City he used to fly back to Chicago between games... "It's difficult to get in sync because of all the fucking Mormons out here.”
posted by Huplescat at 10:26 AM on March 3, 2011


“Was it squishy?” shouted a young man.
posted by zeikka at 10:46 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I applaud them for enforcing the honor code indiscriminately. I was just discussing this whole situation with the two Mormon BYU alums in my (east coast) office at lunch, and they pretty much had the same thing to say - which is mostly that BYU makes makes no effort to hide these rules, and that students are aware from the very beginning that they will be enforced.

Whether or not I agree with the rules themselves has less to do with the fact that I for once appreciate a top caliber sports school who is willing to put what they believe is right over what they know will make them more money/ earn them more time on TV/ etc.

Though, now that I think about it - they probably have more incentive to ban him and lose some games, since most of their alums are Mormon, and won't this just inspire even MORE donations? At Auburn the alums want to win, but you have to imagine at BYU their practicing LDS alums will like this more than winning.
posted by CharlieSue at 10:47 AM on March 3, 2011


Are they just pretty much guaranteed the best basketball players in Utah?

Aren't they the only basketball players in Utah?
posted by doctor_negative at 10:47 AM on March 3, 2011


Yes Davies is Mormon and grew up in Utah. Hometown boy. I would like to know what happens to his girlfriend. Is she in school? Mormon? If she is, she has some splaining to do too.

Yes she's Mormon and grew up in Utah. Hometown girl.
posted by Avenger50 at 10:51 AM on March 3, 2011


Are they just pretty much guaranteed the best basketball players in Utah?

Aren't they the only basketball players in Utah?


University of Utah has historically had a good basketball program, and Utah State is currently ranked 25th in the nation.
posted by jessssse at 11:01 AM on March 3, 2011


I'm going to get divorced from my wife, have premarital sex with her, and then get re-married in honor of Mr. Davies.

A beard waiver? Seriously?
posted by elder18 at 11:02 AM on March 3, 2011


I propose a corollary to Godwin's Law pertaining to any discussion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the inevitable mention of temple garments.

It shall be called Smith's Law.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:05 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


BYU makes makes no effort to hide these rules, and that students are aware from the very beginning that they will be enforced.

The problem with this is many people just going into college (17 or 18) will have their opinions on these issues change over the course of the next 4 years of their lives. In terms of the homosexual conduct rules, a not-insignificant number of people discover they are homosexual during their college years.
posted by batou_ at 11:06 AM on March 3, 2011



The problem with this is many people just going into college (17 or 18) will have their opinions on these issues change over the course of the next 4 years of their lives.


Why is this a problem? When a person and an institution no longer are a good match, you move on to one better suited. Transfers happen all the time.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:10 AM on March 3, 2011


One way or another, they're screwed now.
posted by ob at 11:27 AM on March 3, 2011


By far the bigger danger is that BYU students opinions don't change over the course of their 4 years at BYU. That's rather the point of the strict policies.

I know a couple of gay Mormons who figured out they were gay while inside the confines of the LDS' hateful environment. It didn't go well for them. Ironically their adjustment to realizing they were gay wasn't too bad, but it's been much harder for them to figure out if they're still Mormon or not and what that means.
posted by Nelson at 11:28 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Navy also has beard waivers, and my alma mater the Naval Academy bans even mustaches (which are okay in the general Navy). They don't have good reasons for doing so; something having to do with safety when wearing a gas mask, but it ultimately just didn't go with the wholesome aesthetic they were going for.

Of course, medical can give you a beard waiver, almost all which go to blacks who generally have it much more commonly than other ethnicities. I asked a friend about his waiver; he said it was his slavery reparations and that at least he could grow a beard and didn't have to shave every day like everyone else at the school.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:34 AM on March 3, 2011



Why is this a problem? When a person and an institution no longer are a good match, you move on to one better suited. Transfers happen all the time.


Have you tried to transfer institutions before? I think it is not as simple as you assume. In addition, if certain credits do not transfer that in and of itself is a financial punishment in terms of additional tuition costs.
posted by batou_ at 11:38 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


2011 A.D.
posted by facetious at 11:44 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


batou_, yes true. but in terms of life experience it rather ranks pretty low on the hassle meter. If all of life's mistakes where as cheep as taking a few credits over we would be a lot happier.

And really there is not much that can be done to actually change BYU's policies from the outside. They don't care if we think they are backward twits, there is little to no pressure we can exert. It is up to the students, and alum to do this, if they want to. Let them have a massive sex-in. Or have all the guys go around holding hands for a week... whatever.
posted by edgeways at 11:45 AM on March 3, 2011


I know a couple of gay Mormons who figured out they were gay while inside the confines of the LDS' hateful environment. It didn't go well for them. Ironically their adjustment to realizing they were gay wasn't too bad, but it's been much harder for them to figure out if they're still Mormon or not and what that means.

I also know a couple of gay Mormons who figured out they were gay at BYU, and the environment was the opposite of hateful. You're generalizing the environment in a hateful way.
posted by Avenger50 at 12:11 PM on March 3, 2011


as a division I athlete, I believe if you transfer you have to sit out a year, and if you're someone with pro aspirations that's typically a dealbreaker.
posted by Challahtronix at 12:15 PM on March 3, 2011


Because while the constitution mandates separation of church and state, it also protects religion with the 1st and 14th amendments. This is basics civics in the US. I am 100% morally OK with this arrangement.

There's a difference between supporting legal religious freedom and being morally okay with religions doing anything they want. I support the Westboro church's freedom of speech and freedom to believe whatever they want, but I still strongly object morally to their actions, even if legally they are free to be abusive assholes. You would not see me posting something like "Well, at least they are consistent in hating everyone. Good for them."
posted by burnmp3s at 12:45 PM on March 3, 2011


Do you know who else would have needed a beard waiver at Brigham Young University?

That's right.
posted by found missing at 12:46 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The beard restriction is actually due to a little known provision in BYU's charter that any student or faculty member who grows a beard larger than Brigham Young's has the school rededicated in his name.
posted by [citation needed] at 1:09 PM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's not only long, it appears to be fancy two-tone.
posted by found missing at 1:11 PM on March 3, 2011


Also, there is nothing ironic AT ALL about being punished for fucking your girlfriend by a school named after a man who collected women like baseball cards.
posted by [citation needed] at 1:16 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The one question that is now VERY unlikely to get asked in the locker room by anyone: "Who else has violated the Honor Code?"

I would be stunned if any official went in and blatantly asked that question. After this episode, it would obligate everyone to answer, and answer truthfully. It would obligate the official to act even-evenhandedly. I'm going to suggest that they will prefer to turn away from the policy.

Questioning how much they believe in it in the first place.
posted by nickjadlowe at 1:18 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Part of the honor code, any honor code - whether it is BYU's, W&L's, Davidson's, UGA's academics-only honor code - is that if you know of an infringement and you do not report you are also infringing. So, as a person subject to those rules, in my experience, you do what you can to make sure that people aren't put in a position to feel like they have to choose between being your friend and going by the rules.

At the risk of making a bad analogy, what if the honor code involved something that was unquestionably offensive, such as forbidding contact with people from a certain race? Would people still be applauding the school for enforcing their code and using the "If you don't like it, go to a different school" defense?

My alma mater's Honor Code did not have a thing to say about people's sexuality. It did have something to say about cheating, stealing, and what Wil Wheaton has made famous as "being a dick." I chose THAT school. I didn't choose BYU because I can't live by their rules. If you discover you're gay at BYU, and you really cannot hack it there, then you need to transfer. BYU is a very, very well regarded school and your credits will come with you just like anywhere else.

Furthermore, BYU is private. I don't like lots of places and I don't go there. Plenty of people exercise this kind of choice every day. They get to be assholes in their own yard, and I get to not be there.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:31 PM on March 3, 2011


Davies will get into a different school and get handed women as a welcome gift.

Which is, for the record, pretty fucking sick.


Which is also, for the record, completely unfounded conjecture.

Or do you have some evidence of NCAA institutions acting as pimps?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:48 PM on March 3, 2011


I have heard from a much older friend who was there (and who belonged to a 'good' family but left the church,) that at BYU in the 60s that there was an amazing amount of pot smoking going on, because marijuana wasn't forbidden by the Word of Wisdom.

I too find it ironic that there is any "honor code" at a university named after someone who was quite the polygamist gangster in his day.
posted by Catblack at 1:49 PM on March 3, 2011


Also, BYU is, IMHO, totally in the wrong becuase this violation is being touted publicly. They could have said that the player had to leave school for the duration of the semester and intends to return X date. That a violation occurred at all should be private, as well as the nature of the violation and the punishment. In sum, we should not even be able to have this conversation because none of this is information we should have. His mistake should be between him, his God, his family, and the school.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:54 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's easy to imagine the finger-pointing if BYU craters, as expected. But can you imagine the reaction if BYU is successful without Davies?

I think the reaction is the same either way: utter boredom (and I love college basketball).

This story makes me amazed that Jim McMahon made it through his tenure at BYU apparently without incident.

Ha. My first reaction when I saw the story was "google jim mcmahon byu honor code sex"

In his autobiography, Jim McMahon talks about openly flaunting the BYU honor code. He brags about stealing mini-liquor bottles on airplane flights.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:01 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or do you have some evidence of NCAA institutions acting as pimps?

Colorado pretty much did, although Gary Barnett was later fired for largely unrelated reasons.
posted by Copronymus at 2:01 PM on March 3, 2011


Also, BYU is, IMHO, totally in the wrong becuase this violation is being touted publicly. They could have said that the player had to leave school for the duration of the semester and intends to return X date.

As policy, the school doesn't comment on the nature of Honor Code violations.

I guess Davies was thinking more about his own seed than his team's.
posted by jessssse at 2:06 PM on March 3, 2011


That one white girl from the Real World was kicked out of BYU for living in the coed environment of the Real World house.
posted by anniecat at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2011


The Real World girl is named Julie Stoffer.

"Brigham Young (University) is much more strict than the Mormon religion is," she says.
posted by anniecat at 2:17 PM on March 3, 2011


This is obviously only anecdotal and I have no statistics to back it up, but when I was a student at BYU, I saw the Church and the school turn a blind eye to gay sex a lot more than it was willing to condone straight extramarital sex. In an upper-level anthropology class I took, I had a lesbian classmate spent the semester working on an ethnographic study of gay and lesbian culture among students at BYU, including sexual activity and the relationship between that community and the school bureaucracy and honor code enforcement. She was encouraged by the faculty in her study and none of the subjects of her study were punished or outed.

Enforcement, it seemed, was sort of inconsistent and depended primarily on what publicity might be given to the event in question and the individual philosophy of the ecclesiastical leaders that happened to be involved in any given situation. Some Mormon bishops are more draconian than others.

"Brigham Young (University) is much more strict than the Mormon religion is," she says.

That's just about the only thing I've heard or read Julie from the Real World say that I agree with. I would add, though, that it's not so much a question of "strictness" as it is a question of dogmatism. BYU and lots of people in the Mormon church tend to be very dogmatic. But the Church itself has historically not been dogmatic at all, with the exception of a few notable church leaders at certain points in the Church's history.

I had great experiences at BYU and I greatly value my education there. I'm glad I went there (plus it's super inexpensive). But I and a lot of my friends were constantly griping about the ridiculous rules that get wrapped up in the "Honor Code" and then defended by people who argue that no one should complain since, after all, we had agreed to abide by the rules when we enrolled. Fortunately, enforcement when I was there was pretty loose. I suspect it still is.
posted by The World Famous at 2:34 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or do you have some evidence of NCAA institutions acting as pimps?

I see Colorado's incident was already mentioned, so I'll point out Tennessee's 'hostess' program. There have been some similar rumors at the U of Minnesota and Alabama, as I recall.
posted by norm at 2:34 PM on March 3, 2011


Colorado pretty much did, although Gary Barnett was later fired for largely unrelated reasons.

Oh, Gary Barnett. Oh, Colorado football. That whole scene was pure schadenfreude.

NCAA football is a much sleazier ballgame, and Colorado was about the worst of the worst.

I'll point out Tennessee's 'hostess' program.

... "It is not clear whether the university sent the hostesses to visit the football players."

It's also not clear that the "hostesses" did anything aside from host parties. I'm not sure how it's much different than having attractive female cheerleaders for your team.

Don't get be wrong. I think that some of the privileges afforded major college athletes are pretty despicable (though the athletes themselves are often unfairly exploited). But let's not pretend that every NCAA athletic program is prostituting women for its athletes. That's silly.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:56 PM on March 3, 2011


I wasn't pretending that every NCAA athletic program is prostituting women for its athletes. I think it's sick to treat women as gifts or rewards or trophies or kudos or incentives or anything besides human fucking beings, whether one school is doing it or every school is doing it or no school is doing it but the idea of it exists.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on March 3, 2011


Gordon Monson, Salt Lake Tribune: BYU should offer an open hand, not a clenched fist

The thing that jumped out at me was the extent of the punishment. Suspended for the rest of the season for a first offense?! I doubting that the punishment is specified in the honor code (maybe it is), but that seems way too harsh.

People make mistakes. I realize he agreed to the honor-code rules when he enrolled, but jeez ... doesn't a 1- or 2-game suspension for a first offense seem much more appropriate than losing the rest of the season?

Does anyone know if the punishments are codified or is it purely up to the school's judgment?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:02 PM on March 3, 2011


It's also not clear that the "hostesses" did anything aside from host parties. I'm not sure how it's much different than having attractive female cheerleaders for your team.

Sure. And Hooters refers to owls, too, I get it. Plausible deniability.
posted by norm at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2011


Does anyone know if the punishments are codified or is it purely up to the school's judgment?

I don't believe the punishments are codified (if they are, that code is regularly ignored). When I was a student there, I knew a number of people who ran afoul of various provisions of the Honor Code and other rules, and the consequences were not uniform in any sense. However, I do know people who were kicked out of the university for the same offense that Davis apparently committed, so it does appear that the school is going easier on him than they otherwise might. Pursuant to the provisions of the current text of the Honor Code, a student cannot continue to be a student at BYU if his or her ecclesiastical endorsement has been withdrawn. Given the nature of the ecclesiastical endorsement and the severity of extramarital sex in terms of standing as a member of the Church, it is surprising that Davis would be permitted to continue as a student at the university. However, given that he is an athlete on a high-profile team, I find it pleasantly surprising that he is being disciplined at all. It's nice to see that the school is treating him more or less as it would any other student.
posted by The World Famous at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's sick to treat women as gifts or rewards or trophies or kudos or incentives or anything besides human fucking beings, whether one school is doing it or every school is doing it or no school is doing it but the idea of it exists.

Me too. But that has absolutely ZERO to do with Brandon Davies, from what it seems. His partner was his girlfriend, a freshman on the volleyball team, and everything indicates that the sex was consensual.

It seems like Davies treated her exactly like a human fucking being, or more precisely, a human being who fucks.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:14 PM on March 3, 2011


"Students are responsible not only to adhere to the Honor Code requirement to be honest but also to assist other students in fulfilling their commitment to be honest."

I'm in the same town (Santa Clarita, CA)* as a Protestant Christian version of BYU called The Masters College. This is a school where the honor code makes you promise that you won't go out dancing at any point, even during school breaks. Based on people I knew that went there, there was no shortage of people willing to be spies for the school management. People took pride in ratting you out for being 5 minutes late back to the dorms for curfew, which was like 10pm during weekdays.

* We make up for it by having Cal Arts across town. This is the school people like Tim Burton, Pee Wee Herman, they Pixar guys, and many others went to. They sometimes have a "people are getting naked and passing out drunk in doorways and therefore causing fire hazards on campus" problem. :-)
posted by sideshow at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2011


Can anyone actually specify which sexual activities are allowed/prohibited between members the opposite sex at BYU?

* holding hands
* non-genital (or breast (or ass, i suppose) massage
* kissing on the cheek
* kissing on the mouth without tongue
* kissing on the mouth with tongue
* kissing other, non-explicitly sexual body areas (neck, stomach, legs)
* kissing secondary sex characteristics (breasts, ass, anus)
* kissing genitalia
* genital massage
* masturbation
* group masturbation
* use of $169 fucksaw
...


I suppose it's gotta be posted somewhere ... here it is, I think.

The relevant sections.

1. In the Honor Code Statement: "...students of BYU ... will ... Live a chaste and virtuous life"

2. The most relevant section, from "Conduct": "Sexual misconduct; obscene or indecent conduct or expressions; disorderly or disruptive conduct; participation in gambling activities; involvement with pornographic, erotic, indecent, or offensive material; and any other conduct or action inconsistent with the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Honor Code is not permitted."

And ... that's it?!?!? (unless he violated the Visiting Hours?)

If I were Davies, I'd get a good lawyer and sue, unless the details are "sexual misconduct" are obvious and spelled out in the Book of Mormon.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:25 PM on March 3, 2011


I hope I'm not the only one worried about what hell is raining down on his girlfriend right now.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:29 PM on March 3, 2011


mrgrimm: Can anyone actually specify which sexual activities are allowed/prohibited between members the opposite sex at BYU?
If I were Davies, I'd get a good lawyer and sue, unless the details are "sexual misconduct" are obvious and spelled out in the Book of Mormon



The Law of Chastity
is that there is no premarital sex. It's a fundamental LDS tenant. The Davies incident is not an edge case open to interpretation.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:41 PM on March 3, 2011


When I was attending Utah Valley State College, which is one town over from Provo (most students there are "transferring to BYU as soon as they get their grades up"), I heard rumors that the latest fad at BYU was to do something called "floating." It supposedly consisted of penetration, but no up-and-down movement. The story was that this was a loophole that let you get intimate without violating the Honor Code.
posted by jessssse at 3:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


[The] latest fad at BYU was to do something called "floating." It supposedly consisted of penetration, but no up-and-down movement.

For whatever reason this strikes me as incredibly, unnervingly kinky.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 4:00 PM on March 3, 2011


The Law of Chastity is that there is no premarital sex.

But how does it define "premarital sex"? I'm guessing that hand holding and hugging are acceptable.

Is kissing with tongue considered premarital sex?

Is masturbation considered premarital sex?

Is anal sex considered premarital sex?

What I'm asking in general is does "premarital sex" only cover "penis-into-vagina sexual intercourse" or a whole range of activity that isn't clearly defined?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:06 PM on March 3, 2011


I heard rumors that the latest fad at BYU was to do something called "floating." It supposedly consisted of penetration, but no up-and-down movement. The story was that this was a loophole that let you get intimate without violating the Honor Code.

I'm so gullible that I'm a Mormon and even I think that's the most ridiculous rumor I've ever heard.
posted by The World Famous at 4:06 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


(Duh, sorry, actually reading the wp link now ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:07 PM on March 3, 2011


"As part of the law of chastity, the church teaches its members not only to abstain from adultery and fornication, but also to refrain from masturbation and to avoid sexually inappropriate thoughts."

So anyone on the basketball team who has lusted privately for sex should be suspended as well? And if someone on the team told a friend that he had private sexual thoughts, that person would have to turn him in or be expelled?

I'd get a laywer and sue, just for fun and fame.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:09 PM on March 3, 2011


If you are gay, BYU really isn't the college to attend.

Nor is conservative Christian college, Harding University.
LGBT Students at Harding University Cry Out for Help in Web Zine; School Immediately Blocks Access.
posted by ericb at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2011


My comment above was somewhat snarky, so let me restate it:

Brandon Davies is going through an awful, embarrassing moment in the national spotlight, but will almost surely be offered a scholarship by another team at the end of it all. There is a girl involved in this, however, who won't have that opportunity. While I haven't red through all of this stuff, I'm guessing that most of us don't know who she is, but her family and classmates do, and I'm guessing she'll be kicked out as well. Even if she's not, what kind of scarlet letter must she wear around Utah now for the transgression of having slept with her boyfriend at college? In 2011. And what stats do we have on others being kicked out for other, non-sexual violations of the "honor code," such as gambling? I'm guessing that BYU considers those sins to be less of a big deal, but I'm just applying my experience with such cultures.

We can talk about how BYU is sticking to it's principles "admirably" even though we disagree with them, but no. No no no. This is a seriously fucked thing to do.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:42 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, there is nothing ironic AT ALL about being punished for fucking your girlfriend by a school named after a man who collected women like baseball cards.

The key difference is he married them all first. I wish I was joking.

Is anal sex considered premarital sex?


See: Saddlebacking
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:05 PM on March 3, 2011


If I were Davies, I'd get a good lawyer and sue, unless the details are "sexual misconduct" are obvious and spelled out in the Book of Mormon.

I'd get a laywer and sue, just for fun and fame.


Suing a private university for enforcing disciplinary policies is a tough game to win. Seriously, seriously tough.

I'm guessing that most of us don't know who she is, but her family and classmates do, and I'm guessing she'll be kicked out as well.

He wasn't kicked out of school, was he? Just kicked off the team.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:06 PM on March 3, 2011


I'm guessing that most of us don't know who she is, but her family and classmates do, and I'm guessing she'll be kicked out as well.

I haven't seen anything saying he was expelled from the school entirely, just dismissed from the team.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:07 PM on March 3, 2011


Even if she's not, what kind of scarlet letter must she wear around Utah now for the transgression of having slept with her boyfriend at college? In 2011.

I knew lots of people who had sex with boyfriends and girlfriends at BYU. Aside from some people being annoyed that students would flagrantly violate a cardinal religious rule and condition of enrollment while thousands of people who would have been willing to live according to the standards are denied admission every year, none of them wore any kind of scarlet letter, literal or metaphorical.

And what stats do we have on others being kicked out for other, non-sexual violations of the "honor code," such as gambling?

I have no stats - only anecdotes. I knew a few people who got kicked out of BYU for non-sexual Honor Code violations during the four years I was there. Mostly stuff like being convicted of a crime or things like that (one friend of mine was kicked out when he was arrested for breaking and entering and stealing a TV). There were a couple of girls when I was there who got kicked out for running naked across campus, as I recall. A guy in my band was arrested at a party we played at, but as I recall he didn't get more than a nod in his general direction from the school administration over it. I knew lots of people who went to Wendover and Vegas on a regular basis and gambled all the time without any repercussions (my grandmother was a matron at the Salt Lake temple in the '80s and all the temple workers had a regular chartered bus trip to go gambling in Wendover - the gambling prohibition is not taken all that seriously by most Mormons).

I'm not a gambler myself (I went to casinos a bit with friends because there's nothing to do in Provo, but I don't like parting with my money), so I cannot personally speak to that issue, except that trips to Vegas to go gambling were regularly discussed openly in settings where ecclesiastical leaders were present and no one ever batted an eye.

Dress and Grooming Standards were largely ignored except when a student had to go to the testing center to take a test, which was mostly a first-year thing. The testing center was run by dress and grooming fascists, but everywhere else was pretty much fair game. When I taught at BYU for a couple years, I did get a half-serious and sort of giggly talking-to on one occasion when the head of my department noticed that my fingernails were painted (I'm a man). And I once threatened to turn someone in to the Honor Code office because they wore an unfortunate sweatsuit to my class, but that was a fashion-based threat and not related to morality or anything like that. My roommate, who taught at the Business School, had hair way past his shoulders, which he tucked up into a baseball cap when he went to class. I never really tested the beard thing, because I'm not really a beard guy. I did have a set of very unfortunate sideburns (it was the '90s, ok?), which nobody ever said anything about.

The stuff about curfews, people of the opposite sex in bedrooms, and that sort of thing were, as far as I could tell, completely ignored by just about everyone all the time. The fact is that, notwithstanding the strict rules, enforcement was lax at best and focused primarily on egregious violations of the rules that are more closely related to the actual religious beliefs of the Church. The Honor Code was, for the most part, run on the honor system, which is as it should be. There were rumors of heavy-handed enforcement and surveillance, but they were just rumors as far as I could tell. Since I certainly ran afoul of the more technical rules on a regular basis and I lived a block from campus, I'm pretty confident when I say that.

I knew several people who drank and/or smoked on a fairly regular basis and who were never disciplined in any way for it. I wasn't one of them, but some of my friends were.

Does that help?
posted by The World Famous at 5:19 PM on March 3, 2011


Arsehole bunch of insane religious lunatics act like...well, you know the rest.

But seriously, it's not like he a) was forced to go to the school, b) didn't know the rules. What did he expect? If you don't want to be judged harshly by the lunatic fringe, don't go to their university.

I'm inclined to think that he brought this on himself, and so the outpouring of sympathy seems, at least to my ear, misplaced.

But then, The World Famous suggests that the rules are not really enforced, and it sucks to be made an example of when you had no reasonable expectation of being sanctioned.

We can talk about how BYU is sticking to it's principles "admirably" even though we disagree with them, but no. No no no. This is a seriously fucked thing to do.

I agree - it's like admiring Fred Phelps for sticking to his 'principles' in the face of the hatred and contempt of the entire world. Sticking to stupid principles is not admirable.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:30 PM on March 3, 2011


But then, The World Famous suggests that the rules are not really enforced, and it sucks to be made an example of when you had no reasonable expectation of being sanctioned.

Oh, the "no extramarital sex" rule is enforced. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that. But you have to get caught first. And even then, the consequences depend largely on the circumstances. I don't know anyone who self-reported extramarital sex at BYU who was not disciplined for it in one way or another. Davies got of easy compared to them. If anything, his reasonable expectation was that he would be kicked out of the university and he should be pleasantly surprised.

Davis may have expected (reasonably) that, as a star athlete on a high-profile team, he would not be punished as severely as non-athletes or that he would not be punished at all.
posted by The World Famous at 5:35 PM on March 3, 2011


Does that help?

Yes! This does reinforce my first take, which is that the three most likely scenarios for this violation coming to light are:

1) An attack of conscience, which led to a self-report;
2) Getting ratted out; or
3) Getting the girlfriend pregnant.

Weird/sad story. I think a lot of the fascination with it is just how bizarre and foreign this policy is to the vast majority of readers, at least in developed countries.
posted by norm at 5:43 PM on March 3, 2011


I agree, norm.
posted by The World Famous at 5:45 PM on March 3, 2011


I knew lots of people who had sex with boyfriends and girlfriends at BYU. Aside from some people being annoyed that students would flagrantly violate a cardinal religious rule and condition of enrollment while thousands of people who would have been willing to live according to the standards are denied admission every year, none of them wore any kind of scarlet letter, literal or metaphorical.

How many of them had sex which ended the basketball team's season, and got national attention?
posted by Navelgazer at 5:52 PM on March 3, 2011


How many of them had sex which ended the basketball team's season, and got national attention?

Is your point that the stigma in the present case will be due to the impact on collegiate athletics rather than the general stigma that one might expect due to the religious beliefs upon which the university's policy is partially based? If it is, I agree with you.

And, to answer your question: It would have taken a lot more than this to attract national attention to the BYU basketball program when I was there.
posted by The World Famous at 5:56 PM on March 3, 2011


My point is that, yeah, kind of, but also that presumably this is a Mormon girl from a Mormon family and that this is horrendously embarrassing for her, in a way which could fuck up her view of sex for the future.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:18 PM on March 3, 2011


I agree.
posted by The World Famous at 6:22 PM on March 3, 2011


Me too. But that has absolutely ZERO to do with Brandon Davies, from what it seems. His partner was his girlfriend, a freshman on the volleyball team, and everything indicates that the sex was consensual.

I agree. I wasn't referring to Mr. Davies. I was responding the comment that I'd quoted.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:29 PM on March 3, 2011


mrgrimm: "If I were Davies, I'd get a good lawyer and sue, unless the details are "sexual misconduct" are obvious and spelled out in the Book of Mormon."

I went to a school with a sexual misconduct policy too. Here's what happened when a reporter asked our spokesman to get more specific:
“We are the national university of the Catholic Church, so we follow all the teachings of the Catholic Church, and that is made very, very clear,” says university spokesperson Victor Nakas. When asked which specific behaviors are insufficiently Catholic, Nakas defers to doctrine. “I’m a Catholic, and I’m not exactly sure there’s any debate about what’s permitted,” Nakas says. “Have you read the Catechism? Because the different teachings of the church are spelled out in great detail and in great nuance in the Catholic Catechism.”

For undergraduate students less schooled in church doctrine than the spokesperson for the Catholic University of America, Nakas agreed to get more specific:

Premarital sex: “I can tell you right now that that is not allowed.”

Condoms: “Condoms are not allowed on the Catholic campus.”

Masturbation: “I don’t think that that’s a debatable issue. That’s something that would be clearly proscribed by Catholic teaching.”

Kissing: “I know of no restrictions on that.”

Men kissing: “That—I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve never seen anything about two men kissing. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Of course, in different cultures, in other cultures, it is acceptable for men to kiss each other, as a greeting or what have you,” says Nakas. “It’s seen as something that’s very much within the cultural milieu.”

Nakas never followed up with the official Catholic word on men kissing. In an e-mail, he clarified that “CUA supports the teachings and moral values of the Catholic Church without reservation and in their entirety, including the teaching that sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage,” and that “[i]ncidents are reviewed on a case by case basis.” He made one other thing clear: “no followups, please.”
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:37 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to a school with a sexual misconduct policy (and a drinking policy, and a smoking policy, and a... you know what, skip it). The thing is that, at least under the model where I attended, a lawsuit wouldn't work, because to attend the school I signed a piece of paper in which I agreed that I wouldn't participate in certain activities under penalty of probation, expulsion, or whatever. It wasn't that the school made public what I could be held accountable for, it was that I agreed to abide by certain strictures in order to attend, and any violation of the rules would also have been a violation of my agreement.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm so gullible that I'm a Mormon and even I think that's the most ridiculous rumor I've ever heard.

That was by far the funniest admission to being gullible that I've ever read.

I thought it was a pretty ridiculous rumor too, but I knew a few people who were going to BYU who wouldn't have surprised me if they'd done it.
posted by jessssse at 7:30 PM on March 3, 2011


not sure if anyone else in here has commented similarly; i for one will be fucking stoked if this ruins any chance of byu making it far in the tournament. fuck'em! notre dame too.
posted by rainperimeter at 8:04 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


rainperimeter, to be bluntly honest, that was my first thought too.

then i look down to "Related Posts" and see "Being Black in Utah" ...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:44 PM on March 3, 2011


Huh. Because my current roommate is a Ph.D candidate at Catholic University, and was shocked by BYU's actions here.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:01 PM on March 3, 2011


I am offering this as a naked rumor, unsourced except by a friend-of-a-friend on campus, but it appears my conjecture #3 is the correct one. So I feel even worse for the young lady now.
posted by norm at 7:35 PM on March 4, 2011


>I have heard from a much older friend who was there (and who belonged to a 'good' family but left the church,) that at BYU in the 60s that there was an amazing amount of pot smoking going on, because marijuana wasn't forbidden by the Word of Wisdom.

Right you are, says Jon Krakauer in Under the Banner of Heaven: "Verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man."

In 1915, Utah was the first state in the U.S. to criminalize pot. LDS polygamists who had fled the U.S. for Mexico in the early 20th century grew (har!) to like the stuff, and when the Mexican Revolution in 1912 sent them back over the border, Krakauer writes, "they introduced marijuana into the broader Mormon culture, alarming the LDS general authorities" (see the footnote on the page I linked above).
posted by virago at 3:16 PM on March 5, 2011


« Older The U.S. Army has brought 22 new charges against P...  |  What Baseball Team Should I Ro... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments