Brigham Young University's board of trustees has approved a 300-word document that will replace the university's existing Honor Code and Dress and Grooming Standards.

For students' wardrobes, a few standards will change: Men no longer have to wear socks, but everyone has to wear shoes. Students can wear knee-length shorts. Men should not wear earrings, and beards still are no-nos.University officials say the new document will not change existing principles, though it is less strict and more general in tone. At one time the university did not allow male students to have facial hair or female students to wear slacks - and socks were required. The new code generally stresses modesty, neatness and cleanliness.

Shorter guideline list

"The one-page document is about one-third the length of the former code and standards, but it is essentially the same in terms of desired goals," said R.J. Snow, chairman of a 16-member ad hoc honor code review committee.

"One difference is that the Code of Honor and the Dress and Grooming Standards are separate and distinct," Snow said. "But both are essentially a reaffirmation of what we have had in the past."

While reaffirming the principles, there will be some differences, especially in the area of student involvement. Four Honor Code Councils will be formed with student input to develop programs for implementing the various aspects of the code and standards. Each council will be assigned a specific area to help students understand policies and to handle infractions.

Enforcement not yet determined

According to Kristen Smith, a member of BYU's Student Advisory Council over the Dress and Grooming Standards, the question of how the code and standards will be enforced is still to be determined.

"I am excited that the process is with the students now," Smith said. "But we're not exactly sure what types of things the councils will have to handle."

The honor councils will be divided into four specific areas: the freshman class; the sophomore, junior and senior classes; graduate student classes; and off-campus housing.

Freshmen cause most problems

Smith said the freshman class is separate for a reason.

"Most of the problems currently come from the freshman class," Smith said "This is an effort to deal with them at their level and educate them as much as possible about the code and standards."

The councils will work with the Honor Code Office, formerly the Standards Office. This Honor Code Office will only work with cases involving a violation of the law and other major infractions.

Smith said the councils "will be able to decide which cases they want to deal with and, if they want, they can refer cases to the Honor Code Office."

"We are trying to take away some of their load so they won't have to handle lesser infractions like the dress code," she said.

Student enforcement best

Paul Richards, director of BYU Public Communications, agrees that the change will cut back a great deal on these lesser infractions because problems like plagiarism and violations of the dress code can be handled by the students' peer groups.

Richards said the idea to let students be involved at the judgment level came from the students themselves.

"After a lot of surveying and questions, two major themes came out," he said. One was to make the code and standards shorter and to allow students to become involved.

Public meeting Thursday

Members of the committees that reviewed the code and standards will answer questions in a public meeting Thursday, March 14, at 3 p.m. in room 375 of the Wilkinson Center.

This is where students can get their gripes, questions and comments out in the open, said Smith, who believes that the new code and standards are a step in the right direction even though they may not please everyone.


(Additional information)

Code of Honor:

"Brigham Young University exists to provide a university education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere can be preserved through commitment to conduct that reflects those ideals and principles.

"As a matter of personal commitment, students, staff and faculty of Brigham Young University seek to demonstrate in daily living those moral virtues encompassed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and will: Be honest, live a chaste and virtuous life, obey the law, use clean language, respect others, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and drug abuse."Dress and Grooming Standards:

"The dress and grooming of both men and women should always be modest, neat and clean, consistent with the dignity of representing Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Modesty and cleanliness are important values that reflect personal dignity and integrity, through which students, staff and faculty of BYU represent the principles and standards of the church. These members of the BYU community commit themselves to observe the following standards, which reflect the direction of the BYU board of trustees and the (LDS) Church publication `For the Strength of Youth.'

"Clothing should be modest in fabric, fit and style, and appropriate for the occasion. Skirts and shorts should be knee length or lower. Clothing which is sleeveless, strapless or revealing is not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in public campus areas.

"A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles. Men's hair should be trimmed above the collar, leaving the ear uncovered. If worn, mustaches should be neatly trimmed. Earrings for men are unacceptable, and beards are not acceptable, except for certified medical reasons."