President Clark Gilbert addressed the Honor Code in his first student question and answer forum Thursday, April 30 in the Taylor Chapel.
Lori Potts, a sophomore studying communication, asked President Gilbert if he had a specific vision in mind regarding the culture at BYU-Idaho.
“My vision is to try to not mess it up,” President Gilbert said. “BYU-Idaho has an amazing, amazing culture, and some of that culture goes back before anyone in this room was here at this university.”
President Gilbert also said the students of BYU-I have the responsibility to give back to the culture that was established by Ricks College.
“I have no plans on changing that, I just hope we can amplify what’s already here,” President Gilbert said.
Brandon Fifita, a sophomore studying construction management, asked President Gilbert if there was a difference between the standards the Church sets and the Honor Code at BYU-I.
“The Honor Code at BYU-Idaho is such a blessing,” President Gilbert said. “We’re here on a campus that, we feel, is consecrated. Great sacrifice has gone into funding and providing this, and taking care of these facilities.”
President Gilbert said that when students live the standards of the Honor Code, it’s one way of honoring the sacrifice that has gone into the BYU-I campus.
“There’s a modesty that we try to uphold in the standards here, and that has a spiritual signal to the Lord of a willingness to dress modestly,” President Gilbert said. “We don’t have shorts, or capris, or flip-flops, but we’re also training you for the world of work. When you make the transition from BYU-Idaho to a professional work setting, I don’t think it will be such a hard transition as it is for many college students because you live the Honor Code here and you show up to work and you carry that with you.”
President Gilbert said the campus feels special and different.
“I can tell you, leaving and coming back here, you can tell something’s different here,” President Gilbert said. “It’s very special and one of the ways we try to honor that is through the dress and grooming standards … I hope that you would see that as a unique aspect and something that’s special about the school, rather than something that’s different or odd.”
President Gilbert said he gets asked funny questions regarding competitive sports and the dress code.
“I get asked ‘Are you going to bring football back?’ and ‘Are you going to allow flip-flops?’” President Gilbert said. “No and no.”
President Gilbert addressed how the students of BYU-I can understand the importance of keeping the Honor Code.
“There’s a great quote from Emerson that says, ‘That which we persist in doing, it becomes easier, not because the nature of the task has changed but our ability to do it has,’” President Gilbert said. “If you have to decide every day, ‘Am I going to live the Honor Code?’ Then you’re probably missing the blessing of the Honor Code.”
President Gilbert also said the environment of BYU-I differs compared to the environments of other college campuses.
“What does that do for the learning environment here at BYU-Idaho?” President Gilbert said. “What does that do for people’s own spirituality? There’s just rich blessings that come from living the Honor Code that show up in our housing, show up in our classroom environment, show up in our home and study environment, and in our own personal growth and spirituality.”
President Gilbert said students will receive blessings from deciding one time that they will live the Honor Code.
“If you end up looking at it as a million little decisions, you’re missing the real blessings and opportunities of the Honor Code.”
Courtney Brown, a freshman studying family consumer science education, asked President Gilbert about the Honor Code regarding the repentance process and what students would need to do with their bishops.
“Some students are worried that they’re going to get kicked out or put on academic probation for something that they’ve done, but in reality, this is a Church school, we’re here to repent and progress,” Brown said. “So what kind of advice would you give to someone who has that kind of anxiety about going and talking to their bishop?”
President Gilbert said it is never the wrong idea to go talk to a bishop.
“Sometimes the repentance process has to involve a consequence,” President Gilbert said. “We have a small number of students who do have to leave for a season. Most of the time, they can come back if they do the things they need to do to get their life where they need it to be.”
President Gilbert said not talking to a bishop is delaying the repentance process.
“Sometimes we only see right in front of us, and we can’t see the power that comes through the Atonement,” President Gilbert said. “And that often has to start with a conversation with the bishop.”