Jaren Wilkey, BYU
Brigham Young University Campus West looking East.

The announcement that Brigham Young University would serve as host for the Society for Political Methodology (SPM)’s annual meeting, PolMeth, on July 18-21, 2018, led several members of the society to express concerns regarding the school’s Honor Code. This week, SPM issued a statement that included the society’s regret that the decision to host the summer meeting at BYU caused concern amongst its members.

According to the statement from the society, BYU’s Honor Code “contains several restrictions that contradict the Society’s values of openness and inclusiveness.” The statement specifically cites the Honor Code’s pronouncement that “homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code.”

A joint statement was simultaneously released by the SPM, the American Political Science Association’s LGBT Status Committee and BYU regarding actions that have been taken in response to the concerns. Among the actions, BYU announced that while original plans were to host most of the conference’s events and all of its housing at the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, all of the conference’s events and housing will now be held at the Provo Marriott. According to the statement, “Marriott International prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in all operations and it has a score of 100 (out of 100) in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.”

BYU also took opportunity to reaffirm “its commitment to welcoming all visiting scholars, including LGBTQ scholars, in a spirit of warmth and full inclusion, and it extends campus invitations to all visiting scholars. Each party recognizes that the goals of this conference are to further scholarly exchange and professional development for all.”

Jay Goodliffe, a BYU political science professor who serves as chair of the meeting and who represented BYU on the joint statement, issued the following personal statement through BYU Public Affairs to the Deseret News via email:

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“Since our first discussions of hosting the Annual Meeting of the Society for Political Methodology, our plan was and is for all participants at the conference, including our LGBTQ colleagues, to feel welcome to attend, to further scholarly exchange, and to promote professional development. As part of its efforts to improve, the Society will require future host institutions to affirm a new Statement of Diversity and Inclusion and a new Code of Conduct. Importantly, BYU has affirmed those statements for this summer’s conference. As the chair of the Program Committee, I am proud of the steps we have taken to open up PolMeth to a broader range of participation.”