*Editor’s note: this article was written by Jessica Potter.
To be admitted to BYU-Idaho, every student must agree to live and follow the Honor Code, and students have many thoughts on the issue.
The Honor Code is signed when students are first enrolled in the school and every year after with their bishops in an ecclesiastical endorsement.
It includes rules related to dress and grooming, curfew and church attendance.
The Honor Code is consistent with principles that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, according to the BYU-I Honor Code Web page.
“As a condition of admission and employment, students and employees of BYU-Idaho are expected to live by the Honor Code standards approved by the Board of Trustees ‘at all times… and in all places’,” according to the Web page. “Individuals who are not members of the Church are also expected to maintain the same standards of honor, integrity, morality and consideration of others.”
Nathan Crane, an I-Representative and senior studying animal science, said he will often hear complaints from students in his Get Connected groups about dress code, curfew and lifestyle guidelines, accompanied by the justification that they are in college now.
“A lot of people see the Honor Code as no shorts and no sandals,” Crane said.
Crane said during the last Get Connected, he spoke to a group of students about what the Honor Code really means.
“The thing I try to convey is it’s like Heavenly Father’s asking how much do we love him,” Crane said. “‘Would you be willing to give up your shorts, your beard or your flip flops for me just because I asked?’”
Dale Keller, bishop of the Young Single Adult 58th Ward, said he feels drawn to explain to all of the students in his ward that they are in a privileged position due to the university being heavily supported by tithing.
“I also remind them that their commitment extends past the Savior to the individual members of the Church,” Keller said. “Some forget that their tuitions are supported by tithing and thus making them more affordable.”
Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said in a 1998 devotional that the students at BYU-I only pay a small percentage of what their education actually costs.
“Literally, the widow’s mite, contributed from faithful Church members around the world makes it possible for you to be here,” Elder Bednar said.
In an address to the BYU-I campus in the fall of 2004, Elder Bednar said BYU-I is not as a university, but a Disciple Preparation Center.
“In this special and sacred and set apart place, you and I have access to unparalleled spiritual resources that can assist us in developing and deepening our devotion as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Bednar said.
Keller said sometimes students forget the commitment and covenant they made to the Savior by signing the Honor Code.
“Enforcing the Honor Code is teaching the principle of keeping covenants,” Keller said.
Elder Bednar said in his 1998 devotional that the Honor Code was not set in place by old people to make students’ lives more difficult.
“The Honor Code is a lesser-law preparation to enter the house of the Lord and make sacred covenants, and the dress code is a lesser-law preparation for how you will dress and should act after you have entered into those covenants,” Elder Bednar said. “If you struggle at (BYU-Idaho) to obey the lesser and preparatory guidelines contained in the honor and dress codes, then may I candidly suggest that you will not be prepared to make covenants in the temple.”
Crane said sometimes the Lord wants his followers to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
“He wants people to ask, ‘Why can’t you do that?’” Crane said. “He wants us to have the opportunity to explain that, so I think it gives us the opportunity to think, ‘Well, what can I learn?’”
Most of the Honor Code is drawn from the thirteenth article of faith, according to the BYU-I Honor Code Web page.
“In essence, we try to live by the thirteenth article of faith which states, ‘We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men; — If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things,’” according to the Web page.
Crane said he wants students to know one important thing about the Honor Code.
“It’s called the Honor Code because it’s their honor,” Crane said.