It was reported on March 4 that Brandon Davies, a star basketball player for Brigham Young University in Utah, was suspended for the rest of the season from playing on his nationally ranked college basketball team because of an honor code violation. The fact that the Davies had intimate relations with his girlfriend, it turned out, was against the school’s requirement for all its students to lead a “chaste and virtuous life” in accordance with the Mormon principles upon which Brigham Young University was founded.
The Foghorn staff, upon learning of the reason for the basketball player’s suspension, had an internal discussion about the role colleges should have in when it comes to the private lives of students. Like Brigham Young, USF is a private religious institution of higher education. And just as Brigham Young grounds its honor code in the Mormon tradition, USF looks to the Jesuit Catholic tradition when it comes to policy ranging from its broader mission of social justice to more specific rules regarding dormitory visitation policies.
The purpose of this editorial is not to argue whether or not Davies should have been suspended for a personal decision that went against a commitment he already made by attending Brigham Young. Rather, the Foghorn wants articulate what we feel is role of colleges in the personal lives of its students.
As college students who are preparing to enter as educated citizens into the real world, we feel very much that increased responsibility is an important part of that process. We also feel that with this increased responsibility is the freedom needed to exercise that power.
The Foghorn does recognize that it is in the best interest of the university to see to its students’ welfare and to keep them safe. We therefore recommend that in personal matters (i.e., sexual ones), the university’s focus should be on promoting greater responsibility and awareness on the part of the student body.
The emphasis should not be on requiring students, in the name of safety, to embrace a potentially narrow view of moral acceptability with respect to sex. The staff, for instance, feels that the university’s current focus on awareness of sexual and gender issues and on responsible personal decision-making is far more favorable to prohibiting premarital relations altogether.
USF’s leadership recently has shown that they are willing to recognize college students as capable, discerning adults who can handle the extra responsibility that comes with the territory.
Last semester, for example, the school’s Office of Residence Life reviewed and amended an on-campus overnight visitation policy to now allow a limited number of overnight visitors of the opposite sex to visit a student’s dorm room over a period of time. (Before this, there was an outright ban of opposite sex overnight guests in general.)
While we cannot comment intelligently on the honor codes of universities like Brigham Young, we can say that USF is heading on the right path, and steadfastly should continue to do so.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta
Opinion Editor: Vicente Patino