BYU president stands behind Honor Code concerning ROTC relocation

Air Force ROTC cadets march in a Provo city parade. Documents obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune indicate the Air Force ROTC, and possibly Army ROTC, will be relocating to the UVU campus. (Maddi Dayton)

Air Force Colonel Timothy Hogan chose not to sign the Honor Code upon arriving at BYU last July. This decision made him ineligible to be recognized as a faculty member at BYU, therefore not allowing him to complete his three-year assignment on the BYU campus.

Documents obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune show a record of discussions between BYU and Air Force representatives. The records indicate a proposal was developed to move Air Force ROTC Detachment 855 to Utah Valley University.

Air Force officials asked BYU President Kevin J Worthen if the school’s policy had changed in a conference call on Dec. 15.

“The BYU Board has not moved from its position that all BYU faculty and staff are required to agree to abide by the Honor Code as a condition of employment and a modified Honor Code (is) not a viable long-term option,” Worthen said in a conference call, according to documents obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.

The conference call was held between senior officials at BYU and Gabe Camarillo, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

Camarillo indicated a modified version of the Church Educational Honor Code for ROTC instructors and staff had been proposed, however BYU Academic Vice President Brent Webb said modifying the Honor Code “would fundamentally change who we are as a university.”

Email correspondence, obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune through a public records request, appears to confirm the move of BYU’s Air Force ROTC detachment. Air Force spokespeople have refrained from confirming the move. The emails also mention the Army ROTC, suggesting they may have plans to move as well.

“OUSD P-R confirms movement of BYU’s AFROTC Det to UVU is on track (Comment: Army is looking for a longer transition window than OSD),” wrote Stephanie Miller, Director of Military Accession Policy, to U.S. Army, Air Force, and Pentagon officials.

An email sent on Jan. 12 indicated the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army and the Air Force Manpower and Reserve Affairs had recently reached a mutual agreement with President Worthen regarding the application of the university’s honor code for ROTC faculty and staff.

“This will necessitate relocation/establishment of the Army and Air Force ROTC detachment headquarters from BYU to Utah Valley University with a corresponding redesignation of BYU as a cross-town unit,” according the the email correspondence obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.

All parties involved have engaged in discussions to ensure delivery of ROTC instruction to cadets at both universities. Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, Defense Department spokesman, said the Department of Defense has continued discussions with leadership from both BYU and UVU in recent weeks.

“The Department is reviewing all options in concert with the leadership of BYU and UVU and is working toward a resolution that benefits the mission of the Defense Department and the universities to train students for the next generation of military leadership,” Caggins said.

President Worthen said BYU would be willing to allow ROTC personnel to lead drills and physical training on campus and give guest lectures, according to the conference call held in December.

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said BYU is still engaged in discussions with the Air Force. The possibility of a compromise that would allow the Air Force ROTC unit to remain at BYU has not been foreclosed.

The ROTC programs has operated for more than 60 years and BYU wants to continue that relationship if possible, according to Jenkins.

“If the Air Force decides as a matter of policy that it cannot allow those assigned to BYU to agree to abide by any provision of the honor code that is not independently required by Air Force regulations, we would be at an impasse and would support moving the detachment to UVU so our students would still have access to the program,” Jenkins said. “BYU has not changed its ROTC policy; the move is being considered because of a change in Air Force policy.”

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