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Online Petition Looks To Do Away With BYU’s Honor Code Office

PROVO, Utah — An online petition has gained thousands of signatures in the last two days after being highlighted by an Instagram account, which posts anonymous experiences with BYU’s Honor Code office.

Supporters of the petition want the Honor Code to be just that, an honor system, and to do away with the office itself.

Petition supporter and BYU graduate Sidney Draughon started the Instagram account in January, and it has since helped the year-old petition gain traction. She hopes the support will bring positive change to the Provo campus.

“While I recognize that BYU is a religious institution and they need to have high standards and there does need to be an honor code, I don’t know if there necessarily needs to be an honor code office that is enforcing personal repentance,” Draughon said.

Draughon said her goal with @HonorCodeStories is to give students a way to voice their opinions after she had negative experiences, claiming she was once turned into the honor code office for liking a semi-crude tweet back in high school.

“I just wanted to feel like I wasn’t alone and I wanted students to know that they weren’t alone,” she said. “I went in there multiple times and left just feeling like they wanted me gone.”

The anonymous Instagram account gained nearly 10 thousand followers in the last two days, with hundreds of followers sending her messages about their experiences.

“Almost every post, if not every other post talks about the anxiety students have,” Draughon said.

She notes that there is a fear on campus of being turned in.

“People know that if the professors find out something about you, they are also held responsible if they don’t go turn you in,” she said. “There is just this culture that’s engendered that you know if I tick someone off, are they going to turn me in or is someone going to make up a story about me?”

It is an issue the online petition hopes to change. It is asking the university to let students live the honor code without an office to enforce it.

Specifically wanting students to keep conversations with ecclesiastical leaders private.

“To me that really just seems more appropriate to have in bishop’s offices,” Draughon said.

The honor code’s website states it does not take reports from bishops and that that is a privileged relationship. We reached out to BYU, who did not have a statement on the issue.

Draughon just hopes the petition will prompt positive change.

“I think that it’s really important that our university has our back,” she said.

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