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Y. freshmen meet Honor Code

Published: Thursday, Sept. 2 2004 12:00 a.m. MDT

Sarah Hacthman, left, Joe Miller and Ezinne Ojukwu sing "That's against the Honor Code" during a skit.

Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — At most universities across America, freshmen spend their first week on campus acquainting themselves with aspects of college life that, well, probably couldn't be called chaste and pure.

Than again, Brigham Young University isn't like most universities.

Incoming BYU freshmen weren't welcomed with a rowdy party. Instead, they were greeted at an assembly where the school's strict personal conduct rules — called the Honor Code — were explained in detail.

"We try to teach the Honor Code in a fun way," said Jose Bada, a 21-year-old student from Mexico City, Mexico. "It might seem cheesy sometimes, but we get the point across."

Bada took part in one of the skits of the evening. It featured a chorus of angels standing in front of pearly gates, as various situations that challenged Honor Code practices were presented.

For example, one skit depicted a woman who was tempted to cheat on an exam.

She broke out in song: "I won't lie, that's just not me, I live my life with integrity." That's when a group of angels started singing in harmony.

"That's against the Honor Code; that's against the Honor Code," the angels sang.

The Honor Code is made up of rules and policies to which all students attending the university must adhere. The university is a private institution owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many students are drawn to attend the school because of the strict religious atmosphere.

Honor Code rules include wearing modest clothes — sleeveless or cropped shirts, short shorts or revealing neck lines are not allowed.

Students also agree to not enter the bedrooms of students of the opposite sex, even at off-campus apartments, and to leave apartments of the opposite sex by midnight. Premarital and extramarital sex violates the personal-conduct code.

The code also bans consumption of tobacco and alcohol.

Students are encouraged to be honest and, as at other universities, cheating is seen as a punishable action.

The cases of students accused of violating any part of the code are reviewed by a panel. Students found to have violated the code face suspension, probation and expulsion.

"It's hard, because I like my tight clothes," said Ruth Manso, a freshman from New York City. "But I came here because it's time for a change."

While BYU's campus might be a stark change from the sidewalks of New York City, most students seem to come prepared to adhere to the rules.

At last week's assembly, hoots and cheers filled the air throughout the presentation.

Some students said recent Honor Code violations and gang rape allegations made against several BYU football players reinforces their will to keep the rules.

"It's a double-edged sword," said freshman Derek Rasmussen from Boise. "On the one hand, it's bad that that happened . . . but on the other hand, we can make things better so it won't happen again. We can bring things in the right direction."


E-mail: achoate@desnews.com

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