Readers’ Forum Jan. 5


Having a beard is a choice

In the time it took for me to count the times that somebody has complained about the beard rule to me, I could have grown a beard myself.

And I’m a woman.

The usual complaints are that the beard rule is outdated, there’s no reason to even have the rule, the students should be able to express themselves, etc.

There was a protest at the beginning of the 2014 fall semester where students rode their bikes through campus “Biking for Beards” and wearing long cardboard facial hair. They prompted the Honor Code office to clarify the exceptions in the written honor code that have always existed: medical, theatrical and religious reasons. The last one, which used to be handled on a case-to-case basis, is now expressively written.

While a student is at BYU, they represent the school wherever they go. BYU has always required their students to live a higher standard and being clean-shaven is one way that they achieve this. Being conservative in dress is a representation of outwardly and spiritual cleanliness. Furthermore, everybody who goes to BYU signs the Honor Code. They have every opportunity to read through all of the restrictions, and then agree to them. Complaining about the beard rule is like signing a contract and then afterwards complaining that the contract isn’t fair.

I’m not saying that if you decide to sport a beard, your eternal salvation is at risk or anything, but consider that those rules aren’t in place for the purpose of limiting expression.

Some have made the argument that the professional standard could stay in place, if beards were allowed only as long as they were neat. However, there would certainly be more than one person to take advantage of this extension.

BYU’s “no beard rule” isn’t some radical restriction. There are many other places that do not allow facial hair. The military does not allow beards or goatees, though they do allowed nicely trimmed moustaches. Their only exception is for medical reasons and not even for religious reasons. The Yankees Baseball team also doesn’t allow facial hair beyond mustaches or overly long hair. The Yankees have no rules in place to allow for any exceptions and bench their players for refusing.

Many professional jobs do not allow beards, and even in prison, they require their inmates to be clean-shaven. This is not just some atypical rule made back in the 1960s.  No, it obviously serves more of a purpose, if this university isn’t the only one who has instigated it.

The Honor Code was put in place for the students, by the students, and those that choose to go here and sign, understand the standards and qualifications of that action. We are not alone in this endeavor. There is something to be said about fighting for something that is unjust or wrong, but in this case there is a choice. Allow for that choice to stay in place. The students will follow by its principles. Nobody’s forcing them; they just want to be here.

— Camilla Coronado
Pleasant Grove, Utah

Stop producing the penny

Whenever you purchase something with cash, you’ll likely receive a penny back as part of your change. But is this something that should continue?

Compared to today, the penny was originally worth about 25 cents and could buy half a pound of potatoes. However, regular inflation has made its current value negligible. No one feels better off by finding a penny on the ground since there’s nothing of value you can purchase with it. Now, it can only purchase 6 grams or 1/69th of a pound of potatoes. It is an archaic currency that gradually fills up your couch cushions until you have enough to exchange them at a Coinstar.

It also doesn’t make fiscal sense to continue minting the penny. The Washington Post has reported that every penny currently costs 1.7 cents to mint. In a political climate of high national debt, making coins that cost more to make than their value isn’t responsible. It is a very simple $50 million that could be saved each year.

The penny had its purpose when it first began to be minted, but its usefulness has long passed. It is time we tell Washington to stop producing the penny.

— James Miller

Las Vegas, Nevada

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