The Man Behind the Beard (Card)

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    By: Nicole Miller

    As a freshman at BYU, Scotty Spjut would go the most a day or two without shaving before he was turned away at the testing center or cafeteria. But those instances were in the pre-beard waiver days, he said.

    “Now when I go to the testing center, no one says anything.” Spjut said the testing center never asks about his beard either because they don’t care or because his beard is so defined they assume he has a beard waiver.

    Spjut said he first applied for a beard waiver after his acne acted up one summer.

    Spjut said he’s not an advocate of a lot of the aspects to the Honor Code.

    He said obtaining a beard waiver was quite the process. He first went to the Honor Code Office and then they sent him to BYU’s Student Health Center. A doctor had to examine his skin condition and say it merited not shaving. The doctor’s approval had to be faxed to the Honor Code Office and Spjut had to go back to the Honor Code Office to fill out more paperwork. He received a temporary beard waiver while he waited three to four weeks for his beard to grow out. Then he had a new student ID picture taken after his beard had fully grown.

    That’s all a beard waiver is – a regular student ID card with his picture, beard and all, and an expiration date. It doesn’t even say beard waiver anywhere on the card. Spjut’s beard card is valid for year, but he said the renewal process is simple.

    When his first beard waiver was approaching expiration, Spjut called the Honor Code Office. They told him to come into their office and they would take care of it.

    “There’s no way it’s going to be that easy,” Spjut said he thought. But it was. He went to the Honor Code Office, signed a piece of paper and received a new beard waiver.

    Spjut said he has received grief for his beard when trying to take foreign language tests in the bottom of the JFSB. Every time he went to take a test there the same lady would tell him he needed to shave and he would have to pull out his beard waiver. Spjut said he went there regularly enough that he thought she should recognize him.

    The intramural sports officials are the strictest when it comes to facial hair, Spjut said. He said they always ask to see his beard waiver, as they’re holding it.

    “A lot of people don’t know what a beard waiver looks like,” he said. “All it has is a picture and an expiration date,” he said.

    Spjut said Intramural Office should train their officials better to recognize beard waivers so he doesn’t have to explain it to them.

    But regardless of the hassle Spjut said he gets for having a beard, he said, “It’s always worth it. The stress and hassle – it’s worth never having to shave,” he said. “But there are things that could be done so I don’t have to deal with the hassle.”

    Spjut said professors hassle him the least about his beard. He said they usually ask if he has a beard waiver at the beginning of the semester.

    “They never ask to see it or prove it — because it’s the Honor Code,” Spjut said.

    Spjut has never liked shaving.

    “In high school I dabbled with different facial hair expressions,” he said, but his father was adamant about being clean-shaven so Spjut’s facial hair never lasted long.

    Now Spjut isn’t allowed to be clean-shaven.

    “I have to have a beard as long as I have a beard card,” he said. He said he’s not allowed to have a goatee or “chops” – he has to have a beard. He said the rules were very specific in the form he filled out to have a beard waiver and one of those rules was that he is never allowed to shave. Spjut said he’s breaking the Honor Code if he shaves. Evan a beard waiver doesn’t grant complete facial hair freedom.

    Spjut said the most amusing aspect of having a beard waiver is the reaction he gets from students. “They either assume I go to UVSC or I’m in a play,” he said. He said other students assume he’s evil or disobedient.

    “Like I should just wear a sign around my neck that says I’m a sinner because I have a beard,” he said. But Spjut said having a beard has nothing to do with obedience or right or wrong.

    “The whole facial hair thing is more of a cultural thing than a religious thing,” he said.

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