As the semester begins, many students question several aspects of the BYU-Idaho Honor Code and its exceptions, including the shaving exception, which has been nicknamed the beard card.
Students are expected to be clean shaven while attending BYU-I unless they are an exception to the rule, according to the the BYU-I Dress and Grooming webpage.
Wynn Hill, student well-being managing director, said there are three areas in which students receive shaving exceptions.
“If the student presents a medical condition, is participating in an LDS church media production or the individual actively participates in an officially recognized religion, which advocates facial hair for their tenants, they can receive a shaving exception,” said Hill.
Hill said, to receive the exception, students must be evaluated by the Student Health Center or Student Honor Office depending on their specific circumstance.
“I feel like there are many guys who use the beard card as a way to avoid shaving,” said Ethan Jackson, a senior studying business management. “I feel like the beard card is split between those who use it, and those who abuse it.”
Jackson said the Honor Code is necessary for all students to follow.
“Generally speaking, people are more likely to trust someone with a clean shaven face,” said Jackson. “As disciple leaders going out into the world, we want to portray trust to people.”
Jackson said the regulation on facial hair is a beneficial way to ensure trust and cleanliness when moving on from college into the real world.
“Although, I don’t particularly like shaving and I think I look better with a beard, I know the rules are there for a purpose, and I will continue to follow them,” Jackson said.
Jackson said all students signed the Honor Code upon arriving at BYU-I, which makes all students accountable for following the set rules and standards within the Honor Code.
“The beard card is good and fair, unless it is being taken advantage of by students who do not actually need a waiver,” Jackson said
Jackson said some students feel they look better with a beard, but at the end of the day, that is not a good enough reason for it to be an Honor Code exception.
Aaron Memmott, a sophomore studying business management, said the shaving exception is effective in a positive way because it helps students who suffer from shaving to feel comfortable in their own skin while attending BYU-I.
“Some guys have hypersensitive skin,” said Memmott. “When those guys shave, they could worry about the way others look at their skin during classes.”
Memmott said men with hypersensitive skin could feel self-conscious which leads them to focus more on their image and less on the professor.
“Personally, I believe the beard card is fair to those who use it wisely,” Memmott said.
Memmott said the shaving exception helps to ensure student confidence and comfort.
“If a student is not comfortable in their own skin at BYU-Idaho, then something is wrong,” said Memmott. “I think the beard card exception is a great way to make all students feel equal, despite whether or not it appears that way at first.”
Memmott said although some students do not view the rule as a fair standard, he thinks it is justified.