HBLL reviews Honor Code enforcement

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    By SARA ELIZABETH PAYNE

    The Harold B. Lee Library is reviewing a policy that allows students to receive services, whether or not they are in compliance with the Honor Code?s dress and grooming standards.

    Library officials stopped enforcing the Honor Code more than a year ago, but BYU administrators were unaware of the change until last week when questioned by The Daily Universe.

    Now, university and library officials say the policy may be revised and that in the future, the proper academic vice president will review Honor Code changes.

    Julene Butler, associate university librarian, said, ?Our prior approach [with Honor Code enforcement] is that it was something that was asked of us. It was extremely difficult to enforce and in terms of the spirit of the law, it was difficult to have students reporting on students.?

    Randy Olsen, university librarian, said the library didn?t want to unjustly refuse service to alumni, non-BYU students, children of faculty or anyone else who is not obligated to abide by the code.

    Also, inadequate training for employees was cited as a reason for the decision. Olsen said ?there was some concern that with 400 student employees and rapid turnover, that it would be difficult to adequately train those employees” how to enforce the Honor Code.

    Using this standard, Olsen, Butler and others on the library administrative council implemented the policy change but failed to clear it with former Associate Academic Vice President Gary Hooper, to whom Butler says they usually would have reported such changes.

    While Hooper held the post when the decision was made, he was not contacted. However, Honor Code changes would not normally be cleared through him; they typically go through the university?s Student Life department, he said. Hooper dealt primarily with the library?s academic and budgetary matters.

    ?We did not run it up the line,? Butler said, referring to the decision to not actively enforce the dress and grooming standards at the library. ?It was our stewardship to make the policy. We didn?t feel it was necessary to work with Gary Hooper ? because they give us a lot of leeway in establishing our policy.?

    Carri Jenkins, university spokeswoman, said she hadn?t heard about the library?s changes until The Daily Universe contacted her last week. She said although the library did not go through the academic vice president?s office with last year?s policy change, the library will do so after they revise their policy.

    The library is now in preliminary stages of re-examining their policy, says Olsen, who has worked with the library for 33 years.

    ?The university is always in the process of looking at how it can be better, how it can serve better,? he said. ?That’s very much the mode the library is in today relative to the Honor Code.?

    The library will now work with the Honor Code Office to determine the best way to support the Honor Code at their facility, although the ultimate policy decision will be left up to the library.

    The Honor Code Office does not have the authority to give campus departments clearance for policy changes, said Steve Baker, director of the Honor Code Office. When Honor Code Office counselor Ted Hindmarsh met with library officials last year to advise them about the policy, he intended to give them ideas about how to help students uphold the Honor Code. He did not give suggestions, however, on how to change policy, Baker added.

    ?Departments will have us go over and talk about the Honor Code in general,? Baker said. ?They want to get ideas about how to help students obey the Honor Code without it being negative.

    ?We do not set policy for campus; that?s really from the Board of Trustees, BYU administration. We see our mission as to help individual students.?

    Baker was not aware of specifics on the library?s policies until questioned by The Daily Universe. He has not yet met with library officials regarding upcoming changes, but says the timeline is really up to the library. Baker added that maintaining the Honor Code should be a community effort.

    To uphold the Honor Code, ?it takes each one of us doing our part, which can mean to not provide service,? Baker said.

    Likewise, Student Honor Association coordinator Jeannie Papic said she was unaware that the library was no longer enforcing the Honor Code.

    ?Students wouldn?t take the Honor Code seriously? if it was not enforced, she said. But, Papic added, under ideal situations students should not have to rely on others to remind them of the Honor Code.

    ?Students and faculty should understand it?s a matter of keeping commitments,? she said.

    Although university administrators were not made aware of the situation until earlier last week, Student Life Vice President Jan Scharman in an e-mail said various departments can educate students about the Honor Code differently.

    ?I think it?s important to understand that the Honor Code belongs to the entire university, not just to one office or vice president,? she stated. ?That means that various departments or services may have a variety of ways of informing students ? and educating students when they do not abide by the Honor Code.?

    Dining Services, another campus service sector, actively enforces the Honor Code at their facilities, although they place more emphasis on compliance at areas with predominately student customers, says director of Dining Services Dean Wright. He said it becomes a struggle to enforce it at places like the Creamery on Ninth where they serve Provo residents and people who have not signed the Honor Code.

    At places such as the Cannon and Morris centers, students are reminded of the Honor Code and are asked to comply before being served.

    ?My understanding is that we are all totally unified on campus in supporting the policy of educating the students of what the dress standard is then working with the students,? he said. ?I don?t know if it?s a campus-wide effort to deny services as much as it is a campus-wide effort to encourage and instruct as to what the dress standard is.?

    Linda Shirley, Testing Center manager, said she should not comment on policy changes at the department. Testing Center student employees said they were instructed to serve all students, including those who were not in compliance with the dress and grooming standards, unless the violation was blatant, at which time they were to refer the student to a supervisor. However, former Student Life Vice President Alton Wade told The Daily Universe in April 1999 that service areas of campus have been asked over the years to deny service to students who are out of compliance with the dress and grooming standards.

    One of the more recent changes in the Honor Code happened in 1996 when students were extended the privilege of wearing shorts on campus. Before implementing the change, the administration conducted a survey over a four-week probationary period to determine if students would wear modest shorts, before making the change. After about five years of discussion with the Student Advisory Council and a semester probationary period, university administration approved the Honor Code change.

    The Daily Universe reported in 1996 that the President?s Council, comprised of then President Merrill J. Bateman, Provost Bruce Hafen and five BYU vice presidents, asked that ?students in violation of the dress and grooming standards be denied service from any of the service units on campus.?

    Baker said although ?there has been no real shift in university philosophy? with regard to the Honor Code, he does see a re-focus on the Honor Code during this administration.

    ?Every administration is focused on it in its own way. My belief is that [under President Samuelson] each of us have a responsibility to help each other.?

    Although the current policy was approved by the library administrative council and took effect June 2004, the library has only recently removed signs at the circulation desk that encourage patrons to observe the Honor Code.

    ?We had kept the signs up, but within the last couple weeks the glue started coming off? so we just decided to take them down,? said Andy Spackman, library circulation manager.

    Although the signs are down and the new policy is in place, Beverly Burr, access services desk supervisor, said it?s rare to see someone come in who is not dressed in accordance with the Honor Code.

    In lieu of asking students to comply with the dress and grooming standards, Butler says the library will soon hand out bookmarks to encourage students to obey the Honor Code. Olsen said in their new policy they would also consider measures that will help educate students about the Honor Code. The library has not yet set a deadline for when new policies or procedures will take effect.

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