Readers’ Forum January 24, 2007


    Standing Out of Crowd

    How dare BYU and its board of trustees demand that we adhere to an Honor Code that has a dress code? Don’t they understand how incredibly important it is to us to be the same as the rest of the university students nationwide?

    It is downright restrictive and distrustful of this great university to disallow us to dress ourselves. We have the right to expose our navels and hips and wear our hair any way we please. BYU just wants to turn out a bunch of stamped robots. We should be allowed to be like everybody else, instead of the ubiquitous way they want us to be.

    We, meaning students, should have a say in the Honor Code and how it’s set up. We should have a voice in deciding what is pertinent and what isn’t. After all, we are the ones who are living in the now, instead of the ancient past. Shouldn’t they just trust us to be the adults we are, and let us do away with all the crazy restrictions they put on us?

    How dare they set standards, and expect us to adhere to them.

    How so very…Jesus Christ-like they are.

    David Roquemore


    ‘Chip on Shoulder’

    Over 20 years ago, while attending BYU for my bachelor’s degree, I occasionally saw the same attitude expressed by Scotty Spjut and the author of the article. A lot time was wasted arguing with the Standards Office. These attitudes require introspection and adjustment.

    Which “man” are they intending to “stick”? Would that be President Hinckley? The Quorum of the Twelve, or just one apostle? Maybe President (Elder) Samuelson? A professor or a staff member? Perhaps one of the many tithe payers who sacrifice to pay half of their tuition.

    Until the attitude (testimony) is adjusted, I suggest that Mr. Spjut grow his beard longer, and additionally his hair, to better hide the chip on his shoulder.

    Mr. Spjut also has the option of sticking themselves at another university setting more conducive to their commitment level.

    Leslie Barlow Randle


    Vague Honor Code

    The BYU Honor Code, though fueled by many good intentions and based largely on sound gospel principles, does a tremendous disservice to students when it instills fear and discourages dialogue.

    Many BYU students experience homosexual feelings, and though they remain in good, honest standing with the Church, they may often feel isolated and trapped in silence. The Honor Code makes it clear that any attempt to deal openly with such issues could jeopardize a student’s standing with the University. Consider the following sentence:

    “Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.”

    This statement is repressive in its use of vague and overly broad language. What is “implicit advocacy”? of a homosexual lifestyle? Interpreted loosely, this could be showing support to a gay friend or family member, voting in favor of the Democratic Party (which campaigns actively for gay marriage), or simply questioning the wording of this policy. Rather than effectively preventing problems among the student population, the vague language is likely to cause a great deal of anxiety, especially for those dealing personally with these issues.

    It is not my intent to make public my personal views with regard to homosexuality. Rather, I wish to express frustration with our desire, as a community, to naively relegate to the closet (pun intended) those issues of a more delicate, difficult, or uncomfortable nature.

    Matthew Chrislip

    Oneonta, N.Y.

    Flops to Flop

    Flops to the Daily Universe for vaunting itself as the judge of students and what they chose to do on MLK Jr. Day.

    Fauneil Purcell


    Need for Church Glasnost

    On Dec. 4, 2006, Time Magazine printed an article about Mitt Romney’s possible GOP nomination. In that article, Church spokesperson Michael Otterson said, “In its 176-year history, the church has never endorsed a presidential candidate.” It is common knowledge to LDS people that Joseph Smith ran for U.S. President in 1844. What is not so common knowledge is that he had most of the Church leadership campaigning for him. Joseph Smith had the apostles, the patriarch, most of the seventies and 40 percent of the elders campaign for him with specific instructions to “present before the people ‘General Smith’s Views of the Powers and Policy of the General Government,’ and seek diligently to get up electors who will go for him for the Presidency.”

    Arguing semantics over what “endorsement” entails, is like arguing genocide didn’t occur in Rwanda in 1994, rather “acts” of genocide. The Church didn’t endorse General Smith’s candidacy; only “acts” of endorsement occurred. I guess that’s an argument.

    We ought not be ashamed of or extricate ourselves from our past in order to redefine ourselves in the present. We might do so, only to our detriment.

    Gustavo Oliveira


    Keep In-State Tuition Status

    I must take issue with the “Prop”? The Daily Universe editorial staff gave to Utah House Bill 224, which would repeal current legislation granting in-state tuition to deserving undocumented immigrant students. You claim that the current legislation somehow gives an unfair advantage to undocumented students that is not available to all U.S. citizens. The current legislation allows undocumented students who have attended at least three years of school in Utah and graduated from high school to pay in-state tuition rates. Now, under current Utah citizenship laws, a U.S. citizen need only live and work in the state for two years to qualify for Utah citizenship and therefore in-state tuition. I fail to see how U.S. citizens are somehow being denied education benefits when they have to live in Utah one year less to qualify for the same benefit.

    Many of these students did not choose to illegally immigrate. They have grown up here and will likely remain here. A 1999 RAND study found that on average, an undocumented immigrant with a college degree paid $5,300 more in taxes annually while charging $3,900 less, a net fiscal contribution of $9,200. If a 4-year college education at Utah community college runs about $13,000, subsidizing undocumented immigrants’ in-state tuition will pay for itself before the students reach their junior year. The current legislation benefits U.S. citizens and all H.B. 224 will do is erase the potential of deserving Utah high school students.

    Darren Jackson

    Ashburn, Va.

    Shred it Up

    In response to “Props & Flops” (Jan. 22): I, like many other BYU students, spent my Martin Luther King Jr. day engaged in the activity which most fit my personal desires, which happened to be studying, reading class material, and preparing an outline for this academic semester. I see stamping “all the BYU students who spent last Monday on the…ski slopes” with a “Flop” and grouping them in with assault-happy, frying pan wielding pregnant teenagers and indecent, bathroom politicking lobbyists as unfair and judgmental.

    I think that it is great that there are students here at BYU that set some of their valuable time aside for service on their day off, but the last time I checked Martin Luther King Jr. day was a national holiday, therefore we should not feel obligated to do anything (outside of work commitments). Who is to decide that the students that spent their day snowboarding with their families or friends are any worse than those students who slept all day, lounged around watching the “Next” marathon on MTV, cleaned their apartments, or doing anything else students do when they are not in class? Certainly not you.

    We are adults and as adults we should be allowed to do what we please with our holidays and free time, and as long as our chosen activities don’t violate any of the standards set forth in the Honor Code, you have no basis on which to “Flop” us. And so, to those holiday thrill seekers I say, “Shred on!!!”

    Spencer Nance

    Davis, CA

    Forcing Compliance

    “Baker said the university is not trying to force compliance. His philosophy about the dress and grooming standards is that everyone know and understand the expectation and then regulate themselves.” I appreciated this statement because here I was thinking that by signing the Honor Code, which requires compliance in order to be accepted and attend this university, I actually had to obey it. Thank you for clarifying. Now I know that by signing the Honor Code and agreeing to these rules I can regulate my own dress and grooming by deciding whether or not to obey the standards. I am glad to hear that I am not being forced to comply with these rules, that they are just highly suggested because I now have no need to fear the Honor Code Office in the least bit. After all, if the university is not trying to force compliance then the Honor Code Office has no right to take any disciplinary action against those who oppose it.

    My point is, do not tell me that the dress and grooming standards are not being forced on students when in fact they are. My friend was turned away from the testing center because of the length of his hair, which he was required to cut before being allowed to take his test. Do not tell me this is not a case of forced compliance. Baker, stop lying and own up to your job. You force students to obey the Honor Code. Accept it.

    Rachel Bolenbaugh

    Antioch, Calif.

    Hoping for Clean Election

    Another joyous winter semester has begun in which we may enjoy the comings of the personification of the values of democracy. Yes, I’m speaking of the BYUSA elections. They boast of uniting the student body and hosting activities to generate spirit in our school and its student government. Yet I’d wager we’re about to face the same political fiasco that’s been had in years past. Much like the BCS and the presidential electorate, there is a very strong correlation between BYUSA elections and questionable outcomes. Who’s to say that we won’t see another instance of last-minute fraudulent activities by one nominee to oust another? I’m sure that this wonderful organization, designed solely for the purpose of establishing student influence in the decision-making of the university, and the students would love to make it one year finally with clean elections.

    Jeff Hill

    Centennial, CO

    Proper Equipment for Cheerleaders

    I recall last semester there was a debate on these pages about the cheerleaders, their immodest dress and the exceptions made for them. I bring up three points of interest; 1. The cheerleaders seem to perform stunts just fine covered modestly once it dips below 70 degrees. During bowl week I noticed that the USC cheerleaders had nice knit sweaters and skirts past their knees. 3. And last of all, why is it that we can make an exception for the cheerleaders, who need proper equipment to perform properly, but every student in order to use BYU facilities must dress in modest BYU issue clothing?

    Taylor Cline

    Frazier Park, Calif.

    Focus on Service

    As a former BYU student, articles like the Matter of Honor diatribe send shudders up my spine. In all due respect, where are the devotionals that talk about service and loving people? What exactly does it mean to dress like an “ordinary latter day saint”? In the article it states “it speaks volumes of a persons character if he or she can only distinguish himself by how they appear physically”. It is ironic that what you look like seems to be the only thing of importance in this so-called honor code. Cutting your hair short and shaving down to the skin may make you seem like an “ordinary latter day saint” but it does nothing for your ability to feel Christ like love for others and offer selfless service in a true Christian manner. I guess that’s not as important as maintaining an image. After all, it is all a Matter of “honor”.

    Stephen Taylor

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

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