Paul L. Caron
Dean


Sunday, February 23, 2020

'Learning From Notre Dame And Baylor,' BYU Removes ‘Homosexual Behavior’ As Honor Code Violation

Inside Higher Ed, BYU Removes Policy on Same-Sex Intimacy:

BYU (2015)Brigham Young University's recent removal of “homosexual behavior” as a prohibited and punishable act under its honor code has caused both celebration and skepticism in the LGBTQ community.

On the surface, the removal of a passage in the honor code on Feb. 19 indicates that members of the university who display such physical intimacy will no longer be subjected to disciplinary measures, including removal from the university, which is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But in a series of tweets the next day, university representatives said “there may have been some miscommunication” about what the changes mean.

“We have removed the more prescriptive language and kept the focus on the principles of the honor code, which have not changed,” said Carri Jenkins, assistant to the president for university communications. “We will handle questions that arise on an individual, case-by-case basis.”

The response has left many LGBTQ students enrolled at the Utah institution in the dark about how they can express their sexual orientation, since the university did not make it explicitly clear.

Before Wednesday's changes, the university said it would act on "behavior" rather than "feelings or attraction." The now-deleted paragraphs state that homosexual behavior, which "includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings" is in violation of the honor code.

A spokeswoman for the university declined to explain what the revision will mean for LGBTQ couples who kiss, hug, hold hands, date or otherwise express their sexual orientation in public.

Salt Lake Tribune, BYU and Its Honor Code Are Learning From Schools Such as Notre Dame and Baylor About How to Open Their Arms to the Future:

There are reasons to celebrate the recent changes to BYU’s Honor Code — specifically, the changes regarding “Homosexual Behavior” — that are the length of 10 football fields beyond sports. But those changes could have an important future impact on sports at the school.

When BYU attempted to get into the Big 12 a few years ago, significant resistance cropped up that had little to do with the value and attractiveness of Cougars football, the size and reach of its fan base, the seating capacity of its stadium, the program’s history, the worth of its program in the eyes of network executives.

The school’s attitude toward LGBTQ students, and those who might visit the campus, spelled out in the language of its Honor Code, was a problem, a problem that wasn’t going to fade, rather it was going to grow in the seasons and years to come. ...

There are reasons to celebrate the recent changes to BYU’s Honor Code — specifically, the changes regarding “Homosexual Behavior” — that are the length of 10 football fields beyond sports. But those changes could have an important future impact on sports at the school.

When BYU attempted to get into the Big 12 a few years ago, significant resistance cropped up that had little to do with the value and attractiveness of Cougars football, the size and reach of its fan base, the seating capacity of its stadium, the program’s history, the worth of its program in the eyes of network executives.

The school’s attitude toward LGBTQ students, and those who might visit the campus, spelled out in the language of its Honor Code, was a problem, a problem that wasn’t going to fade, rather it was going to grow in the seasons and years to come.

Other schools with conservative religious-based behavioral codes, such as Notre Dame and Baylor, feature language that makes manageable the positions of their associated churches, Catholic and Baptist, which have doctrines that dictate, in so many words, that lesbian and gay relationships should remain non-sexual in nature. At the same time, the schools find room to embrace LGBTQ students, to make them feel valued and safe. And while that embrace may not be as complete as some might want or wish for, it’s enough for schools in leagues with them to be satisfied.

Notre Dame football is associated with the ACC, and while not a full member, it would be heartily welcomed by every conference in the country on account of its prowess. Baylor is a member of the Big 12.

Baylor changed the wording in its code five years ago, altering it to: “Baylor will be guided by the biblical understanding that human sexuality is a gift from God and that physical sexual intimacy is to be expressed in the context of marital fidelity.” It defines marriage, according to the Baptist faith, as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.”

Notre Dame also emphasizes that sex, as dictated by Catholic doctrine, should happen between a man and a woman in marriage, and that when it occurs outside of that blessed union, perpetrators can be referred to the “University Conduct Process.” But it also has adapted a support system for LGBTQ students and staff, with phraseology that includes: “… the University is committed to fostering an environment of welcome and mutual respect that is grounded in its Catholic mission.” It calls for all students to be “friends and allies.”

Which is to say, the school’s policy toward students and staff, in its Christian administration, might wander just a bit from the formal paths, preferences and proscriptions of the Catholic church.

Maybe BYU has learned from these other schools and while the softening, if that’s the right word, of its policies and the enforcement of doctrine, may not swing a heavy hammer, the way the school once did, it will gain more acceptance as it opens its hand to those who want to better their lives in association with the university as they, like all humans, bump and skid their way through this life.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/02/learning-from-notre-dame-and-baylor-byu-removes-homosexual-behavior-as-honor-code-violation.html

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