The BYU-Idaho Honor Office has identified a hairstyle, commonly known as the “man-bun,” as against honor code policy.
The man-bun is typically worn with hair shaved on the sides of the head with a top-knot worn in the middle.
According to the BYU-I Dress and Grooming standards, men and women are to keep a proper and professional appearance while avoiding drastic hairstyles.
“We would consider the man-bun to be an extreme hairstyle,” said Tyler Barton, Student Honor Administrator. “It’s just something that deviates from the norm.”
Barton said any hairstyle that is different or uncommon could fall under this same category.
Seth Deming, Testing Center Director at the BYU-I Testing Center, said the emergence of the man-bun at BYU-I has been recent, surfacing within the past two semesters.
Deming said that when the Testing Center first started to see the man-bun, they consulted the honor office for clarification.
“Before we did anything, we just called the Student Honor Office and said, ‘We’re seeing this hairstyle,’” Deming said. “I didn’t even know what it was called.”
Deming said hair that is slicked back is considered within honor code standards. He said it is in violation when the middle portion of hair is pulled into a bun form.
Anita McPherson, a testing assistant at the BYU-I Testing Center, said that Spring Semester 2015, both male and female students who came into the Testing Center wearing this particular hairstyle were allowed to take their test.
President Miyasaki, student services and activities vice president, said the Testing Center’s goal with every student is to teach and clarify the Dress and Grooming Standards and promise him or her blessings for obedience.
Deming said the Testing Center provides options for students who enter the Testing Center in violation of the dress code by offering additional clothing or suggesting they change and come back. He said they also show students examples of correct dress through visual aids when students have questions.
Deming said their main concern is providing students with the most comfortable testing environment while reducing disturbances for students.
Jakob Whitted, a freshman studying business management, said that he would find the man-bun hairstyle disruptive.
“I imagine that’d be distracting,” Whitted said. “You know, you’re sitting behind a guy. I would be just trying to figure it out.”
Deming said they try to pick out those who are violating the dress code as they come in. He said testing center employees try to quietly pull students aside to explain the dress and grooming violation, and, if needed, they suggest students go to the Honor Code Office for clarification.
“Most people are like, ‘I didn’t know. Don’t worry, I’ll get that taken care of,’ and it’s a non-issue,” Deming said.
Miyasaki said the Testing Center tries, if at all possible, to allow the student to take their test and attempts to resolve the situation.
Deming said that when students see others out of dress code, they begin thinking certain styles that are against policy are acceptable and the level of professionalism begins to decline.
Deming said he empathizes with students because he used to grow out his hair during the summer when he attended Ricks College.
“That’s the way I was,” Deming said. “I was off track, and I’d grow a goatee and all kinds of facial hair.”
He said that while he was on campus he had an experience where he read a quote by President Packer about continuing mission dress standards after the mission and it changed his entire perspective on the dress code.
“I learned that lesson when I was a student here, and it changed my life, and so if we can somehow provide that same learning experience for someone else, then it is all worth it,” Deming said.
Many students vary in their views on the man-bun and whether it is considered an extreme hairstyle.
“The Honor Code just says men aren’t allowed to have extreme hairstyles,” said Derek Smith, a sophomore studying electrical engineering. “Who decides what is extreme?”
Hailey Macho, a freshman studying nursing, considers it to be appropriate and thinks it should be considered to be within the Honor Code standards.
“I enjoy the man-bun as much as many girls,” Macho said. “The man bun makes it so that [their hair] doesn’t go below their ears. They look more put together, rather than having their hair down and scraggly. I think it should be a part of the dress code if they’re keeping it clean cut.”
Bekah Barton, a junior studying child development, does not think wearing the hairstyle should be restricted.
“I don’t think you should be able to not let someone have a man-bun,” Barton said. “Just because my hair is longer than yours, doesn’t mean I’m anti-religious.”
Other students find the man-bun to be an unnecessary trend to begin with.
“If you’re not a Japanese samurai, you should not have a hair bun,” said Tanner Tait, a sophomore majoring in general studies.
Marivi Lugo, a junior studying communication, said she supports the Honor Code and its stance against extreme hairstyles such as the man-bun.
“I think there’s a difference between being stylish and appropriate,” Lugo said.
Miyasaki said the Honor Code Office is not alone in enforcing the Honor Code.
“All employees and students at BYU-Idaho are obligated under the Honor Code to ‘encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code,’” President Miyasaki said. “It is not the Testing Center or the Student Honor Office’s responsibility alone to help students, but we all have a shared responsibility.”
More information on the Honor Code and what it entails can be found on the CES Honor Code Web page.