Instagram account shares BYU Honor Code ‘horror stories’

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An Instagram account named Honor Code Stories is sharing hundreds of students’ and former students’ “horror stories” involving the Honor Code Office to promote change. The page links to an online petition started in hopes the University will “update” the Honor Code. The petition had over 10,000 signatures as of 9 a.m. Thursday.

BYU graduate Sidney Draughon created the Honor Code Stories account in early January. However, the account has exploded with thousands of new followers and hundreds of anonymous submissions since Monday, April 1.

Submissions include stories of students being put on probation or expelled for LGBTQ-related issues, dress and grooming violations, substance abuse and chastity-related issues.

Although the university has not yet released an official statement, university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the university is “aware of this year-old petition, as well as anonymous posts on a specific Instagram account.”

Interest in the Instagram account exploded after media reports on KSL and ABC4.

The online petition also highlights previous changes to the Honor Code, as reported by The Daily Universe in 2014. According to the article, in 1957 BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson suggested the Honor Code include not only standards regarding academic honesty, but all other school standards as well. This led to the expansion of the Honor Code in the 1960s, creating the bulk of what the Honor Code represents today, with rules regarding chastity, drugs, alcohol, dress and grooming.

The university has also made major changes to the Honor Code in more recent years. BYU changed the wording of the Honor Code in 2007 to clarify its stance on homosexual behavior. The change more clearly stated that having homosexual feelings are not against the Honor Code, but engaging in homosexual activity is.

BYU formally added an amnesty clause to its Sexual Misconduct Policy in 2017, providing sexual assault victims with amnesty from the Honor Code office even if there were other infractions prior to the assault. The change came after several victims came forward to share their stories, promoting a year-long investigation from the Department of Education.

As a result of the attention surrounding the Honor Code Stories Instagram page, students are organizing a sit-in on April 12.

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