The Week in Mormonism, 4/17/16: BYU Honor Code Chilling Effects

Pat Bagley for the Salt Lake Tribune

Last week, BYU’s honor code office acknowledged that it follows up on reports of rape and sexual harassment to see if the victim violated the honor code during the assault. (BYU clarifies that being assaulted is not itself against the honor code, but action may be taken against students who are found to have been violating other policies at the time.)

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on the chilling effect this has on crime victims with stories from BYU students Madi Barney, Madeline MacDonald, “Emily,” and Brooke, who were investigated by the honor code office after being raped.

In Barney’s case, the case gets even stranger. Her honor code investigation was opened after Utah County sheriff’s Deputy Edwin Randolph gave BYU a copy of confidential police records. BYU has continued its investigation of Barney, and prevented her from enrolling in classes, despite the prosecutor’s office alerting the school the records are “paperwork that lawfully they shouldn’t have.”

Charges were filed against Randolph for retaliating against a witness. Prosecutors alleged “he knew that the victim in the case could receive disciplinary action based on the information contained within the report.” The charges were ultimately dismissed by Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman, who said on Friday that “he sought the dismissal as a result of secret information… from an internal affairs investigation.”

Randolph himself said in a statement that “he intended that BYU investigate male students, particularly male athletes, who may have victimized women or otherwise violated BYU standards regarding sexual conduct.” It’s unclear how Randolph expected a report on a 39 year old accused rapist to help investigate student athletes.

Other Links

  1. The ABA advances a religious discrimination case against BYU Law School.
  2. Clark Goble runs the numbers on converts per missionary.
  3. A nuanced perspective on Elder Oaks’ “Opposition in all things.” And Refugees of Our Own Making.
  4. Tyler Glenn, lead singer for Neon Trees, speaks about being gay and Mormon.
  5. Family remembers LDS missionary hit, killed by car in Taiwan.
  6. Blair Hodges discusses Adam Miller’s Letters to a Young Mormon and his new book, The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace: Boredom and Addiction in an Age of Distraction.
  7. By Common Consent and Juvenile Instructor cover the release of the George Q. Cannon journals.
  8. Paul Toscano breaks the history of Mormonism down to seven periods: Ancient, Pioneer, Accomodation, Conservative, Correlated, Corporate, and New.