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Should BYU's Davies have been suspended?

March 19, 2011

Brigham Young University recently suspended its star basketball center, Brandon Davies, for violating the college's strict Honor Code. Davies admitted to officials that he'd had pre-marital sex with his girlfriend, an Arizona State University freshman. Although he currently remains a student, there is still a chance the 19-year-old will be expelled from the school. He has publicly apologized to his teammates and fans.

The Honor Code, which students are obligated to abide by, requires them to be honest, live a chaste and virtuous life, obey the law and all campus policies, use clean language, respect others, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse, participate regularly in church services and observe a dress and grooming standard.

Davies' suspension means the third-ranked Cougars are now missing a vital player and could possibly lose out on being a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Reaction to his dismissal is split into several camps; comments on the Salt Lake Tribune's stories range from “[T]his young man did nothing wrong and should not be punished” to “[G]lad to see BYU standing up for its values and holding students accountable for their actions.” The suspension has also stirred up a lot of anti-Mormon feeling on the Internet, with many commentators taking the opportunity to slam the Honor Code as outdated, draconian and laughable.

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Was the university right to suspend Davies for an action that many would say was trivial, especially as he's not committed a criminal act? Or should they have swept it under the rug to prevent damage to the Cougars' championship chances, possibly putting off talented athletes from attending?

Students who don't agree with Brigham Young University's honor code shouldn't attend that school. Those who aren't tuition-paying students or parents, faculty or donors can have any opinion and make any comments they wish, but at the heart of it, it's none of their business.

The university was right to suspend Davies. It would have been unfair to the rest of the students not to. And sweeping the matter under the rug would have been unconscionable for a faith-based school.

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