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Should BYU's Davies have been suspended?

March 19, 2011

There are some elements of the BYU honor code which I myself find a bit stringent — for example, I must have my morning cup of coffee, and I am required by my religion to sanctify every Sabbath and holiday with a goblet of wine— so, therefore, I would not consider attending this university.

However, I believe the overall atmosphere of BYU is admirable and shines in stark contrast to the sometimes decadent lifestyles being practiced on many college campuses. Frankly, I don't see what is so “draconian or outdated” about asking our young men and women to be honest, respect others, not abuse drugs or alcohol, use clean language and dress and groom themselves appropriately. Is it really so bizarre to ask our young people to exhibit self-control and restraint when it comes to pre-marital sex? Certainly any responsible parent would strive to shield their teenaged child from the possible psychological and physical consequences of sexual activity before a true commitment was made.

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By holding Mr. Davies accountable for his actions, BYU is sending a clear signal about its commitment to principles and values; I hope that our country's youth will take this lesson to heart and properly adjust their own lifestyles to reflect the ideals of honor and respect.

Rabbi Simcha Backman
Chabad Jewish Center
Glendale

I do not see how this matter could be considered “trivial.” BYU is an academic institution, but also a religious one with standards that reflect its doctrine. While you or I may find rules against facial hair or consumption of coffee somewhat overbearing and unrelated to anything spiritual, they believe them to be part of the identity they wish to inculcate. Some of the honor code simply reflects biblical code, and with such I would be in similar agreement, as would the schools I attended as I worked through my own education. I, too, had to agree to uphold certain ethical standards to attend Biola and Fuller, and some of the rules there were also, to me, superfluous; but rules about fidelity, chastity, etc, are reasonable for any institution that champions biblical morality and should be applauded and held in high esteem.

It seems to me that the punishment should fit the crime, and consideration should be made for whether the confession was initiated by the student or as a result of an accusation.

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