Is BYU's Honor Code Racially Biased?


Brandon Davies, the black Brigham Young University basketball player who was recently suspended for having sex with his girlfriend, may have been a victim of an unfortunate pattern at the Mormon university. 

In a recent investigation, sports blog Deadspin found that while black students only make up 0.6 percent of BYU's student body, the majority of honor-code violations are by black students. Out of the 70 students suspended for breaking the honor code at BYU since 1993, 54 of them, or 80 percent, were minorities, and 41 of them (60 percent) were black males.


Could blacks just be more prone to breaking the rules? According to several former BYU athletes, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. White athletes reportedly break the honor code routinely, but the violations are often covered up because of the Mormon athletes' ability to turn to bishops and church leaders to "repent" and avoid real punishment. 

So why would students come to a school with such harsh rules and punishments? The majority of black students accuse BYU of playing a good old "bait and switch." "You go out there. You're getting introduced to college women … It was partying, girls, completely the opposite of what was supposed to be going on," Thomas Stancil, a former BYU running back from Bakersville, Calif., tells Deadspin. "I was exposed to so many women on my recruiting trip to BYU, I couldn't wait to get back. I was going to go to Fresno State, but not after that recruiting trip."

When it comes to the honor code, the students admit that it was mentioned but argue that the staff does not go into depth about what is truly expected. "During my recruiting visit and right up till the point when I signed with BYU, the honor code was lightly discussed by coaching staff and BYU officials," says Marcus Whalen, a star running back from Maryland who left BYU in 2004 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault stemming from a fight with a fellow student. "I wasn't told that if I violated the honor code, I would get kicked out of school and lose my scholarship and eligibility to attend another institution."

One student, who chose to stay anonymous, says, "We knew it was a Mormon school. We thought if we didn't live on campus, it didn't affect us. They said it was OK, it's just on campus, you don't have to worry about it as long as you guys aren't doing too much."

America's a free country, where people are able to practice their personal beliefs without being persecuted for it. There's nothing wrong with BYU existing as a religious-based institution, but is there an issue with holding non-Mormons to the same standards and publicly punishing them for not following your religious beliefs? BYU should either stop recruiting non-Mormons or become a bit more open-minded. 

Read more at DeadSpin.

In other news: Donald Trump: I Have a Great Relationship With the Blacks.

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