Most Brigham Young University students don't seem too concerned about the decision to prohibit males from wearing beards or earrings.
Only about 20 students came to a question-and-answer session Thursday that was designed to resolve concerns about recent changes in the university's Honor Code and Dress and Grooming Standards.R.J. Snow, BYU vice president and administrative representative to the Honor Code Review Committee, said the committee's studies indicate that the new code and standard "reflect the preferences of the campus."
The new Honor Code has not changed any principles of the old code, Snow said. "It is just packaged a little differently and is more precise and succinct."
One major issue that arose during the discussion in revising the standards was whether to allow male students to wear beards on campus.
"We got mixed signals from the students," Snow said.
According to reports from the committee, only 30 percent of those questioned wanted to allow beards, 38 percent said they should not be allowed and others had mixed feelings.
Harold Oaks, a committee member and the head of BYU's theatre and film department, said people need to understand the process that led to the revisions.
"The new standards were not arrived at by a popular vote," Oaks said. The committee made recommendations to the board of trustees, composed of the First Presidency and other leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The changes are made and approved by the board of trustees," he said.
Snow also said the criteria for the new Dress and Grooming Standards are based on principles of modesty and cleanliness, and direction from the board of trustees.
The question of beards comes under the last category, he said.
BYU is a unique institution, and "most people are willing to conform to its standard," Snow said.
"We cannot enforce this in any particular way, and we depend on the integrity (of the students) to do so," he said. BYU does not want to enforce the code and standard, just implement it.
And, according to Snow, the question of how violators will be dealt with is still something that needs to be worked out.
Snow said the issue of wearing socks became a non-issue early in committee discussions, but the question of shorts was not unanimously agreed upon.
"We decided it was better to state the minimum standard that people should conform to," said Snow, referring to the decision to allow shorts no higher than the knee.
Kristen Smith, a student representative to the committee, said she did not feel the new code and standard are a compromise.
"There was a general feeling of working toward a principle-based code," she said.
"We are not banging our heads against a wall as students," Smith said. It is possible to get results and work with the administration and faculty on any issue, she said.