BYU Honor Code Office releases updated procedures on its website

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A statue of Brigham Young stands in front of the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building. (Universe Archives)

The BYU Honor Code Office has updated its website with information about updated procedures and student resources after pushes for reform from students.

New changes in Honor Code procedures, published July 10, include a “statement of good faith,” allowing students to bring a support person to meetings with administrators, a well-defined appeals process and a name change for employees from “counselors” to Honor Code “administrators.”

On April 1, an Instagram account titled Honor Code Stories shared BYU Honor Code ‘horror stories’ with hopes to induce change within the Honor Code Office. These stories sparked a response which led to a student-led demonstration comprised of BYU students, alumni and community members outside the J. Reuben Clark Law building on April 12.

The protest garnered local and national media attention from The New York Times, Associated Press, NBC News and Newsweek. Attempts for reform were also made by students at BYU-Idaho and BYU-Hawaii.

BYU-Idaho students, inspired by the Honor Code Stories reform, created a similar Instagram account named byuihonorcodestories, the twitter hashtag #ReformTheCodeBYUI and had a student-led protest on its campus on April 10.

The student and former-student allegations included stories of mistreatment after being reported to the Honor Code Office. These included accusations of Honor Code violations before investigation had taken place,  inappropriate questions asked by Honor Code counselors and poor treatment of LGBTQ students.

Honor Code Office director Kevin Utt released a statement on May 14 announcing changes made to Honor Code Office procedure, such as immediately notifying students of why they have been asked to come to the Honor Code Office, but groups pressing for reform said more changes were still needed.

Two months later, the BYU Honor Code Office updated its website with new procedures and student resources.

There is now a statement of good faith, which will presume the student to not be in violation of an Honor Code policy unless the student accepts responsibility or the investigation determines a violation did occur.

Students are now able to bring someone such as a friend, faculty member or staff member to accompany them to an Honor Code Office meeting.

Students will also have the option to appeal any Honor Code action if the student feels it was not supported by facts, the action was too harsh, the Honor Code Office was biased or new information became available that may change the findings.

Honor Code Office employees will now be called administrators and not counselors. The website states that “to reflect their role as student conduct professionals — and not therapists — staff are now called Honor Code Office administrators. These administrators refer students to Counseling and Psychological Services for mental health counseling if needed.”

According to Utt, all Honor Code administrators have undergone training from the national organization Association for Student Conduct Administration and will be reviewed on a regular basis. This is now part of the mandatory training for new Honor Code Office administrators.

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