Unwritten rules abundant on BYU campus

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    By LAUREN L. GLISSON

    It is 13 minutes after the hour and the students of Zoology 102 are anxious to leave because their professor hasn’t come to class yet. Once in awhile professors on BYU campus are unable to make it to class on time and students leave after 15 minutes because “it’s the rule.”

    In any community there are certain expectations for those who wish to reside there. At BYU, students abide by both written and unwritten rules. The infamous “15-minute rule” is not written, according to BYU professors.

    “I think it used to be that if the professor had a doctorate it was 20 minutes, if less, 15 minutes, but I’ve never seen a written rule,” said Randy Bott, professor of religion.

    Phil Kunz, professor of sociology, said he has never been more than two minutes late during his 32 years of teaching, but said he has heard of the rule, too. He said he could understand how professors could get caught in traffic or stuck somewhere on campus and be late to class.

    Kunz said the decision to leave after 15 minutes must be made by the students, individually and collectively.

    “I think students would be wise, after a given amount of time, to leave. They need to negotiate it in their mind and with the other students,” Kunz said.

    Without the professor, some students in a state of anarchy will persuade the other students to all leave, said Liz Kitchen, a senior from Sparks, Nev., majoring in biology composite teaching.

    “I’ve been in classes where someone who really wants to leave will insist that in 5 minutes everybody has to leave,” Kitchen said.

    In some classes the teaching assistants will take over and give the lecture, but in other classes the TAs will tell the students to leave after 15 minutes, said Blaine Jackson, a junior from Mesa, Ariz., majoring in philosophy and construction management.

    Aside from the “15 minute rule,” BYU students can list off numerous other unwritten rules at BYU.

    “You can’t start sitting in different seats once people have ‘their seats’ in your class. Take as little time as possible on the courtesy phones when people are in line. Don’t walk across the grass, and seniors will always take precedence when you’re trying to add classes,” said Lorianne Updike, a senior from Provo, majoring in public relations.

    Updike said a lot of the unwritten rules are obvious because they are usually routine or a matter of courtesy.

    Some unwritten rules, such as stopping while the national anthem is being played on campus, are a matter of respect and apply to all people on campus, said Richard Vetterli, professor of political science.

    “It’s an expectation of respect from our students. I also saw a family visiting campus and they stopped for the national anthem, too. I see a good deal of respect on this campus,” Vetterli said.

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