Readers’ Forum July 20


Voicing a dissenting opinion not dishonest

I was reading a submission to a previous Readers’ Forum page wherein the writer’s topic was the “beard rule” in the dress and grooming section of the BYU Honor Code. The purpose of my submission is not to engage in this particular debate, but to help people understand how to engage in any debate.

The writer said of those contending the beard rule, “Complaining about not having beards and going several days without shaving because you don’t necessarily believe in the rule is dishonest.” I completely agree with the second part of his statement. Saying you will do something and then not doing it is indeed dishonest. However … the writer includes complaining about the rule in the sphere of dishonesty. This is the part where he is wrong. Voicing dissent and a desire for change is completely honest (one is making their thoughts known), whereas mischaracterizing the arguments of another party could be considered dishonest, or at least ignorant. All of the arguments I have heard for desiring a rule change have to do with why the beard rule exists at all, not whether the rule should be obeyed. Thus, those in favor of upholding the rule must argue on that point. Argue the validity of the rule because that is what your opponents are arguing.

Again, I am not attempting to contribute to either side of the beard debate at all in this submission. I myself willingly submit to the beard rule as it stands. But if we are to practice open and honest debates, we must begin to accurately understand the arguments of those with whom we disagree.

— Joel Wright

Thatcher, Arizona


BYU women in STEM

I am a chemistry nerd, and frankly I’m proud of it. My Pinterest board is full of chemistry cat memes, memorizing the periodic table is my idea of fun, and engraved lab goggles are sitting in my Amazon shopping cart just waiting for my next paycheck. I am grateful I can pursue my goal of becoming a chemical engineer at BYU. However, after telling people my major, I am often met with comments like, “Oh, but what’s your real major?” or “Are you doing that to meet boys?” and “That’s the longest major on campus, good luck going that long without getting married and having a kid.”

These comments are intended to be funny, but can be hurtful. We as a student body need to stop belittling women who choose to study STEM majors. These comments create a double standard, ostracize women pursuing male dominated degrees, and are unkind. Men who choose STEM majors are applauded for undertaking such a challenging task. Similar respect is not given to women pursuing the same degrees. This double standard is frustrating – academic success does not hinge upon whether an individual was born with an X or Y chromosome. Getting a STEM degree is not a vehicle used to find our Prince Charming, rather it is an opportunity to study what we are passionate about.

As a solution, I ask that you think before you speak. If a woman tells you she is majoring in a STEM field, consider how your response will affect her. Consider asking what interests her about her studies. Watch the defensive expression disappear as she explains her love for math and science. The light in her eyes and excitement in her voice will be worth more than a chuckle from a joke I can promise she’s heard before.

— Ali Jesperson

Cedar Hills, Utah


Drive-by water balloon throwers need to grow up

(Last night) I ran out to my car to grab my cellphone. As I was about to get to my car, a gray SUV turned the corner and sped up. A man from the driver’s side of the car threw a massive water balloon at me, hitting me slightly below the waist and soaking my whole pants and shoes. This is my third time being hit by drive-by, late-nighters in Provo over the past two years.

Rewind a little. Three days ago, I got a text from my girlfriend telling me her grandmother had passed away. I’ve spent almost every minute of the day possible with her (ever since). On Friday, while at work, I also got a call telling me that my pregnant sister had passed out and was in the hospital.

Fast forward again. Tonight … while running back to my car, (for my cell phone in case of an emergency call asking for my help) a group of four or so students thought it would be funny to throw a water balloon at me.

When you aren’t accountable for your actions, big or small, you’re letting others down around you. When you choose to act negatively towards someone else, in word or action, you are potentially harming someone who is going through more than you can imagine right now.

Stop victimizing others. And stop hitting me with water balloons, please.

— Mitchell Cottrell

Monterrey, Mexico

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