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Was BYU student fired from campus job for swearing?

Published: Tuesday, March 22 2011 4:56 p.m. MDT

PROVO — A BYU student says he lost his part-time job on campus because someone heard him say a word of profanity after he bumped his shin.

"He spoke to me about the incident, and before I knew I was fired, I was apologizing because I didn't want to make the same mistake," Brian Devine said.

Devine knows what he said last Monday was anything but divine, after he injured himself while delivering packages on campus.

"The cart slipped, and I hit my shin on the cart, and all the packages fell over, and I just let out an expletive," he explained.

He didn't think much of what he said and continued making his deliveries. But things changed at the end of his shift.

"When I got back to work my manager spoke with me and he let me know someone had heard me and complained about it," Devine said. "And he pretty much said that was the reason they were letting me go."

Instead of quietly walking away with his pink slip, Devine wrote a letter to the editor of the BYU newspaper, lamenting the reason he was fired.

BYU officials say they can't talk about personnel matters, but suggested there were other reasons Devine was let go.

"I can say the account being given is inaccurate and incomplete," said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

"In looking at any type of termination, what the university looks at is a pattern of work behavior and different types of behavior," she explained.

Devine says he hopes his sharing his story will, in his words, help BYU to lighten up.

"I think BYU is about helping students learn and progress," he said, "but there is this counter atmosphere where a lot of people just want to condemn and try to pretend like everybody's perfect and they're obviously not. I'm not perfect."

Devine remains a student at BYU and says he hasn't heard a word from the BYU Honor Code Office about his slip of the tongue.

BYU officials say he is welcome to apply for a new job on campus.

Some students commenting on his letter to the BYU Universe say they support his firing. They say he agreed to the honor code and broke the rules, so he should suffer the consequence.

Others say it was unfortunate and didn't think swearing once should have led to his firing. They also say people were too quick to judge.

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