BYU released a letter on May 14 from Honor Code Office Director Kevin Utt announcing changes made within the Honor Code Office. The announcement comes after large student protests at BYU and BYU-Idaho during the week of April 7 calling for Honor Code Office reform.
Utt’s letter states he’s impressed with BYU students’ commitment to the principles of the Honor Code, and that he has met with several hundred students — “and counting” — who have concerns about how things are handled within the Honor Code Office.
“One thing I have shared with them, which I want to share with you, is that this past year we began reviewing all of our procedures,” the letter reads.
The letter then outlines several changes:
- When the university learned an online form associated with the housing office was creating confusion about reporting Honor Code violations, the confusing language was removed. “As I mentioned in the Q&A posted in April, encouraging others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code is not synonymous with ‘turn someone in,'” Utt’s letter states.
- Students will know at the start of their first meeting with the Honor Code Office why they have been asked to come and the nature of the reported violation. Or, if they’re self-reporting, they will have a clear understanding of what they need to know to remain in or return to good standing with the university.
- Students will be told the name of the person who has reported the violation, except in situations where it is a matter of safety to someone else on campus.
- From the first meeting, students will be given an explanation regarding what the investigation process entails and support resources available to them.
The letter also reiterates that investigations of reports of sexual misconduct are handled by the Title IX Office, and the Honor Code Office is not involved, as per the Title IX updates made in 2016.
“I want students to be respected and treated fairly throughout their interaction with this office,” Utt states in the letter. “I understand the concerns that have been raised with some of our procedures, which we will continue to address in the months ahead. The constructive dialogue that I and others are having with students is helpful as we continue to refine our policies, trainings and practices.”