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BYU says Honor Code Office will now detail accusations against students before meeting with them

Posted at 12:18 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 14:18:07-04

PROVO, Utah — Brigham Young University will now inform students called to a meeting with the Honor Code Office of the specific reason for their visit.

The school, which is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and requires students to abide by an “honor code” of conduct, announced the change Wednesday.

“Our review of how we serve students showed the importance of clear communication from our office,” said Kevin Utt, Honor Code Office director. “This new system allows us to provide the details students want to know up front while still protecting student privacy.”

Previously, students would get a generic phone call asking them to schedule an appointment with the office, and the reported misconduct would be detailed during that first meeting.

The first message to students will now include a link so students can log in securely and view a “detailed letter” regarding the reported misconduct and the students rights during the process. That letter may also indicate the student is only invited to meet with the office as a witness.

“In both scenarios, the more detailed initial communication improves transparency and reduces anxiety regarding the process,” Utt said.

This is the latest in aseries of changes to how the Honor Code Office conducts business on the campus. Those changes came amid pressure from the student body in the form of social media campaigns and organized protest.

In 2016 the office adopted an amnesty clause and made other changes after criticism for the Honor Code office’s treatment of victims of sexual assault.

The campus police department also faced the possibility of de-certification after an officer was accused of accessing countywide police databases to get information from outside agencies as part of Honor Code investigations.

Wednesday’s press release also notes that “in the past there was an element of students using the Honor Code Office to resolve conflicts that could have been settled directly through effective communication.”

The school states they offer a free mediation service for students through their Center for Conflict Resolution.