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Basics of the Honor Code
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    What is the Honor Code?
    Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and LDS Business College exist to provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere is created and preserved through commitment to conduct that reflects those ideals and principles. Members of the faculty, administration, staff, and student body at BYU, BYU-H, BYU-I, and LDSBC are selected and retained from among individuals who voluntarily live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Observance of such is a specific condition of employment and admission. Those individuals who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also expected to maintain the same standards of conduct, except church attendance. All who represent BYU, BYU-H, BYU-I, and LDSBC are to maintain the highest standards of honor, integrity, morality, and consideration of others in personal behavior. By accepting appointment on the faculty, continuing in employment, or continuing class enrollment, individuals evidence their commitment to observe the Honor Code standards approved by the Board of Trustees "at all times and . . . in all places" (Mosiah 18:9).
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    Honor Code Statement
    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. . . . If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things (Thirteenth Article of Faith). As a matter of personal commitment, students, faculty, and staff of Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and LDS Business College are expected to demonstrate in daily living on and off campus those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will:

    • Be honest
    • Live a chaste and virtuous life
    • Obey the law and all campus policies
    • Use clean language
    • Respect others
    • Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
    • Observe Dress and Grooming Standards
    • Participate regularly in church services
    • Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the BYU Honor Code
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    What is meant by Academic Honesty?
    BYU students should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty in all its forms, including:

    • Plagiarism
    • Fabrication or Falsification
    • Cheating
    • Other Academic Misconduct
    All students, once admitted to BYU, are required to observe the standards of the Honor Code whether on or off campus.
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    Intentional plagiarism is a form of intellectual theft that violates recognized principles of academic integrity as well as the Honor Code. Such plagiarism may subject the student to appropriate disciplinary action administered through the university Honor Code Office, in addition to academic sanctions that may be applied by an instructor.

    Inadvertent plagiarism, whereas not in violation of the Honor Code, is nevertheless a form of intellectual carelessness that is unacceptable in the academic community. Plagiarism of any kind is completely contrary to the established practices of higher education, where all members of the university are expected to acknowledge the original intellectual work of others when it is included in one's own work. In some cases, plagiarism may also involve violations of copyright law.

    Intentional Plagiarism. Intentional plagiarism is the deliberate act of representing the words, ideas, or data of another as one's own without providing proper attribution to the author through quotation, reference, or footnote.

    Inadvertent Plagiarism. Inadvertent plagiarism involves the inappropriate, but nondeliberate, use of another's words, ideas, or data without proper attribution. Inadvertent plagiarism usually results from an ignorant failure to follow established rules for documenting sources or from simply being insufficiently careful in research and writing. Although not a violation of the Honor Code, inadvertent plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct for which an instructor can impose appropriate academic sanctions. Students who are in doubt as to whether they are providing proper attribution have the responsibility to consult with their instructor and obtain guidance. Examples of plagiarism include:

    • The verbatim copying of an original source without acknowledging the source.
    • Paraphrased Plagiarism: The paraphrasing, without acknowledgment, of ideas from another that the reader might mistake for your own.
    • Plagiarism Mosaic: The borrowing of words, ideas, or data from an original source and blending this original material with one's own without acknowledging the source.
    • Insufficient Acknowledgment: The partial or incomplete attribution of words, ideas, or data from an original source.
    • Plagiarism may occur with respect to unpublished as well as published material. Acts of copying another student's work and submitting it as one's own individual work without proper attribution is a serious form of plagiarism.
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    Fabrication or Falsification
    Fabrication or falsification is a form of dishonesty where a student invents or distorts the origin or content of information used as authority. Examples include:

    • Citing a source that does not exist.
    • Attributing to a source ideas and information that are not included in the source.
    • Citing a source for a proposition that it does not support.
    • Citing a source in a bibliography when the source was neither consulted nor cited in the body of the paper.
    • Intentionally distorting the meaning or applicability of data.
    • Inventing data or statistical results to support conclusions.
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    Cheating is a form of dishonesty where a student attempts to give the appearance of a level of knowledge or skill that the student has not obtained. Examples include:

    • Copying from another person's work during an examination or while completing an assignment.
    • Allowing someone to copy from you during an examination or while completing an assignment.
    • Using unauthorized materials during an examination or while completing an assignment.
    • Collaborating on an examination or assignment without authorization.
    • Taking an examination or completing an assignment for another, or permitting another to take an examination or to complete an assignment for you.
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    Other Academic Misconduct
    Academic misconduct includes other academically dishonest, deceitful, or inappropriate acts that are intentionally committed. Examples of such acts include but are not limited to:

    • Inappropriately providing or receiving information or academic work so as to gain unfair advantage over others.
    • Planning with another to commit any act of academic dishonesty.
    • Attempting to gain an unfair academic advantage for oneself or another by bribery or by any act of offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting anything of value to another for such purpose.
    • Changing or altering grades or other official educational records.
    • Obtaining or providing to another an unadministered test or answers to an unadministered test.
    • Breaking and entering into a building or office for the purpose of obtaining an unauthorized test.
    • Continuing work on an examination or assignment after the allocated time has elapsed.
    • Submitting the same work for more than one class without disclosure and approval.
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    Dress and Grooming Standards


    A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, revealing, or form fitting. Shorts must be knee length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles or colors, and trimmed above the collar leaving the ear uncovered. Sideburns should not extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, moustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean shaven; beards are not acceptable. Earrings and other body piercing are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.


    A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting. Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be knee length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extremes in styles and colors. Excessive ear piercing (more than one per ear) and all other body piercing are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.
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    What is the Honor Code Office?
    The Honor Code Office is a resource staff of seasoned BYU personnel who have:

    1. A deep love for the university and for the students who are enrolled here.
    2. A commitment to the Honor Code and the value system it represents .
    3. A sense of balance between the requirements of justice and mercy, relative to the Honor Code and the manner in which students either sustain it or disregard it.

    Mission of the Honor Code Office

    The Honor Code Office (HCO) determines the Honor Code status of students at Brigham Young University. In fulfilling this mission, the HCO:

    1. Provides educational support to students in their commitments to live the university's Honor Code.
    2. Safeguards students, the learning environment, and the integrity and good name of the university. The HCO works exclusively on issues that affect students, helping students focus their efforts on harmonizing their lives with the ideals set forth in the Honor Code.

    For more information, visit their website.
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    Why Faculty Should be Involved with the Honor Code
    Each member of the university community has not only an individual obligation to sustain and preserve the Honor Code but a shared responsibility to help others do likewise. This responsibility extends beyond the physical boundaries of campus and is intended to maintain a total living environment conducive to the presence of the Spirit of the Lord. President Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has instructed us: "Every man should be laboring for his own good and as far as possible for the good of others. There is no such thing in the science of life as a man laboring exclusively for himself. We are not intended to be alone in time nor in eternity. Each individual is a unit in the household of faith, and each unit must feel his or her proportion of the responsibility that devolves upon the whole. Each individual must be diligent in performing his duty. By doing this, and keeping himself pure and unspotted from the world, he assists others to keep themselves pure and unspotted" (Gospel Doctrine, p. 115).

    Hesitating to fulfill this Honor Code obligation puts our fragile Honor Code and the environment it is designed to protect at risk.

    1. We must always challenge and council our peers and others in the spirit of love. (See D&C 121:41-44)
    2. No report should be made to the Honor Code Office prior to talking with the individual to be referred.
    3. No anonymous reports will be acted upon by the Honor Code Office.
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    Honor Code Office Responsibilities to Help Faculty
    The Honor Code Office assumes responsibility to:

    1. Receive and investigate reported student violations of the Honor Code.
    2. Determine and assign specific interventions and counsel with students to redirect their behavior toward the development of integrity and other qualities of noble character.
    3. Consult with administrators, faculty, staff, ecclesiastical leaders, and others as they fulfill their responsibilities in relation to the Honor Code.
    4. Cooperate closely with faculty, department chairs, and deans to resolve issues of academic honesty and integrity and maintain a file for cross reference when incidents of academic dishonesty are verified.
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    How can faculty support the Honor Code?
    The uniqueness of Brigham Young University is due, in large measure, to the Honor Code and its efficacy in the BYU Community. Sustaining that efficacy is a community issue. In other words, the Honor Code is only as strong as we individually and collectively decide to make it be. As long as it is in effect, the means will be available to provide an atmosphere where we can study, work, and live among others who share our values; and wherein the Spirit of the Lord can dwell.

    In the 1997 Annual University Conference, President Merrill Bateman noted that

    " . . .Brigham Young University is a wonderful place filled with extraordinary people acquiring light and truth. The mission of the university was defined 120 years ago by a prophet of God. There has been no deviation since, nor will there be . . . Faithful faculty and staff understand that all truth is spiritual. They know by spiritual environment that provides additional light. Ultimately, there is no dichotomy. Truth is truth! The search for truth at Brigham Young University will prosper over time because of the way the community lives and the peace that prevails."

    1. Help prevent violations
      • Establish expectations for students relative to the Academic Honesty Policy and the Dress and Grooming Standards.
      • Communicate those expectations to students at the beginning of each course.
      • Include expectations in each course syllabus. (See "sample statements for syllabi" in the drop-down menu)
    2. Respond to perceived Academic Honesty violations
      • Personally investigate the incident to determine if there actually was a violation; and, if so, its relativity. Invite the student in for a confidential, one-on-one interview. (See "suggestions for interviewing a student..." in the drop-down menu)
        • Assure the student of his/her self-worth, even in the face of the mistake.
        • Exercise kindness, patience, and a sense of fairness.
        • Remember that love is usually more effective than vengeance.
        • Expect minimization. Admitting a mistake is usually a difficult task.
        • Emphasize teaching a principle rather than meting out a punishment.
      • If inclined, check with the Honor Code Office for a prior violation by that student.
        • The Honor Code Office maintains an Academic Honesty file which contains all of the information they get from faculty members, the Testing Center, etc. These are usually first offenses, thus not official Honor Code cases; but they do indicate the beginning of a pattern for a given student.
        • Knowing the student has a prior occurrence may alter the decision of what should be done.
      • Take the appropriate action.
        • Faculty members are the most qualified persons to make this call. They know the curriculum, the students, the seriousness of the offense, etc.
        • For continuity, check with colleagues, the department chair or dean, or with the Honor Code Office for a university-wide perspective.
        • Seriousness is always relative, and penalties must be appropriate to be meaningful; but violations judged to be inadvertent, minor, or insignificant need not be forwarded to the Honor Code Office.
      • Report to the Honor Code Office the violation and final results.
        1. These reports are the essence of the Academic Honesty file, which the Honor Code Office maintains as a resource for tracking such issues.
        2. Email address:
        3. Telephone: (801) 422-2847
        4. Address: 4440 WSC, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602
      • If the incident includes a violation of a public law, report it to the University Police. Examples include breaking and entering into an office, stealing an examination, etc.
      • Faculty members are always invited to consult with Honor Code Office specialists for advice or help in handling academic integrity violations.
      • Respond to perceived Dress and Grooming violations
        • Dress and Groom Standards violations occur on a scale of relativity.
        • If the appearance of a student is over the line, there are several options. The basic guideline is to determine if the student is misinformed, made an honest mistake, or deliberately intends to make a fashion statement that is clearly and deliberately beyond the guidelines of the BYU Dress and Grooming Standards. See the Honor Code for more options.
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    Sample Syllabi Statements About the Honor Code
    It is expected that the Academic Honesty and Dress and Grooming Standards of the BYU Honor Code will be supported in this course; which, simply put, means do your own work and always make proper attribution when using the words and ideas of others; dress and act like the representatives of the Church and university that you are.
    • The Honor Code helps make BYU a unique university where the spirit of the Lord can quicken learning, and where we can study, work, and live among people who share our values. I personally support all aspects of the Honor Code, and expect that its principles, particularly the tenets of Academic Honesty and Dress and Grooming, will be maintained in this course. In short, do not cheat or plagiarize; and be modest and appropriate in your manner of dress, and civil in your behavior.
    • Being selected to attend, or teach at, BYU is an honor that is accorded to a continually diminishing percentage of the Church membership. No other university offers such an opportunity to learn in an environment that is fostered by the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, many of which are contained in the BYU Honor Code. I have personally pledged to uphold these principles and I expect all students enrolled in this course to do the same, particularly with respect to Academic Honesty and Dress and Grooming Standards. In other words, I won't cheat, plagiarize, or come to class dressed or groomed inappropriately, and I expect the students won't either.
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    Suggestions for Interviewing a Student Who May Have Violated the Honor Code
    In a small class, simply catch the student on the way out of class and ask him/her to come to your office.
    • In a large class, ask the student publicly to stay after class; or use the student's ID on the roll to access a telephone number, and extend a personal invitation by phone.
    • When the student arrives, take him or her into your office for a private interview. You may begin by simply stating "Something has been brought to my attention that we need to discuss"; or "I have noticed something unusual that I feel I should ask you about."
    • Present the evidence (a note from the Testing Center, an eye- witness account, participant in the cheating, matching tests, plagiarized paper, etc.) and ask the student for an explanation.
    • Bring in witnesses as necessary and appropriate, but try to avoid a portrayal of ganging up.
    • Avoid becoming confrontational. All that is needed here is to find the truth.
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    When Should I Contact the Honor Code Office?
    1. To report a violation that has been resolved
    2. To receive help dealing with a violation
FAQs About Academic Integrity
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    Is it appropriate for a student to submit the same paper for two different classes?
    Often, the student view on that issue is different than that of the faculty member; but the fact is, even though most teachers don't allow it, some do. A student should never just assume it's OK; but the teacher has the final say for his or her class.
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    Do BYU students cheat more or less than students at other universities?
    It's true that some BYU students cheat, but substantially less than the norm. Recently, BYU participated in a national survey that clearly showed BYU students as having a high degree of academic integrity. For example, 92% of the BYU respondents said they had never seen someone cheat. Only 55% of the norm group gave that same response.
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    I was just notified by the Testing Center that one of my students cheated on a test. Now what do I do?
    At BYU, the faculty member is the first point of contact on all first-time academic integrity violations. The faculty member may first contact the Honor Code Office to see if the student has a prior violation in the file. Then, in a confidential interview with the student, the faculty member should 1) determine if there was an actual violation; 2) if there was a violation, determine its relative seriousness; 3) take appropriate academic action (deducting points, not counting the test or assignment, failing the student for the course, etc.); and 4) submit a brief written report of the violation and the action taken to the Honor Code Office. The Honor Code Office will then notify the student that the report has been received and placed on file in the Honor Code Office. The student notification includes a warning that any further violation will be treated with increased seriousness that may eventually affect enrollment at the university. Subsequent violations of academic integrity become official Honor Code violations and are handled according to established Honor Code Office procedures. The Testing Center also sends a copy of the notification of student cheating to the Honor Code Office. The Honor Code Office takes no action at that point, other than to place it in a holding file until the faculty member contacts them. If there is no confirmation of cheating, they eventually destroy the notice. The Honor Code Office academic integrity tracking file depends on reports from faculty members.
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    Is it appropriate for me to dock points, not count a test or assignment, or even fail a student, for cheating?
    Yes, taking an appropriate academic action for violation of academic integrity is not only appropriate, but required by university policy to the extent it is merited--and who is better qualified to make that determination than the faculty member?
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    How can I correlate the actions I take for cheating with the rest of the university?
    Regarding academic integrity, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Each case is determined individually. However, it is highly recommended that faculty members discuss pending actions with their department chairs, who are the next in line if there is an appeal; or consult with Honor Code Office personnel, who have an opportunity to view this issue from a university-wide perspective.
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    Why do we have proctored testing at BYU, when we operate under an Honor Code?
    At BYU, individual faculty members decide whether or not to monitor testing in their classrooms. Some do, and some don't. However, BYU Testing Services is a contract examiner, not only for the university, but for other educational entities, the government, businesses, etc. As such, they are required to provide monitored testing.
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    Confronting students who have cheated in one of my classes seems painfully difficult. Why do I have to do it? Isn't that the job of the Honor Code Office?
    Confrontation in any form is never easy. Prevention and education are much preferred; and who is better qualified than the teacher to take preventive measures wherever possible, and to educate students about academic integrity when the opportunity presents itself? While academic integrity may not be a comfortable topic, it may, in the end, be one of the most important things we teach. And, although administering consequences for untoward actions is rarely a favorite teaching method, it has scriptural validity, and may be one of the most potent ever used.
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    Should I proctor exams I give in class; or should I put the students on their honor and leave the room?
    Faculty members are the best qualified persons to make that call for their classes; and at BYU, it is theirs to make.
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    I strongly suspect one of my students is cheating. How can I find out if it has happened before?
    1) Organize the evidence; 2) call the Honor Code Office and have them check the student's name for a prior incident; then 3) invite the student in for a confidential meeting to discuss it.
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    I've had students cheat, and it isn't fun. How can I be more proactive and stop it before it gets started?
    Faculty members can 1)place a bold notice in their syllabi, stating their personal philosophy about academic integrity and what they will do if they ever find it is violated; 2) discuss the importance of academic integrity on the first day of class, noting their course of action for violations; and 3) implement whatever realistic preventive measures seem appropriate, such as maintaining empty seats between test takers, using alternate forms of the exam, changing exam questions regularly, giving clear explanations on their expectations relative to collaboration, attribution, etc.
FAQs About Dress and Grooming
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    Is a student's fashion or overall appearance really my responsibility? Isn't that the job of the Honor Code Office?
    Dress and grooming are often reiterated tenets of the Honor Code. The Board of Trustees regards all members of the BYU community as representatives of the Church and the University, and they have a definite view of how such representatives should look. They ask everyone in the community to take an active role in this matter and faculty members are key figures in this community. In short, yes! It is your responsibility and everyone else's, too.
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    One of my male students has shoulder-length hair; but when he comes to class, he keeps it tucked up under a cap. I told him I wouldn't give him credit until he got it cut. He's protesting that I can't do that. Can I?
    Faculty members certainly can! They are the stewards for everything that happens in their classroom. Of course, faculty members credibility is enhanced if they are up front about their personal support of the university's Dress and Grooming standards, such as placing a clear statement in their syllabi, and/or making appropriate introductory comments on the first day of class.
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    One of my female students has shaved her head. Do I have a responsibility here?
    Yes, faculty have a responsibility in this situation! A girl shaving her head, a guy dying his hair bright blue, or any other extreme fashion is not appropriate for representatives of the Church and the University.
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    One of my male students wears black clothing and eye shadow to class; and his fingernails are at least half an inch long. What can I do about it?
    That sort of appearance is not appropriate for a BYU student, particularly a male. It is suggested that a faculty member 1) invite the student in for a confidential interview to explain the issue concerning the student's appearance and teach a principle; or 2) if the student seems unreceptive, contact the Honor Code Office. Also, faculty may take their own action, such as prohibiting attendance at class, until the necessary adjustments are made. Of course, this would be simplified if there had already been a clear statement in the syllabus, or otherwise, regarding support of the university's Dress and Grooming Standards.
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    In my eight o'clock class, one of the guys always shows up half-asleep and with a face full of scruffy whiskers. Isn't that a violation of dress and grooming standards? How can I help him?
    A male student is required to shave at least every 24 hours. Although it's conceivable that he's within the limit according to the letter of the law, he is certainly marginal relative to the spirit of it. Why not have a confidential visit with him to discuss it, and challenge him to do better. If he has a scruffy attitude to go along with his appearance, give the Honor Code Office a call.
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    One of my female students has a tongue post. You can't really tell until she tries to talk; then it becomes very obvious. It must be a violation of some kind. What should I do about it?
    The only body piercing sanctioned by BYU Dress and Grooming Standards is a maximum of one per earlobe for women. No body piercing is sanctioned for men. A tongue post is not appropriate for either gender. Arrange for a confidential interview. Tell the student how you feel about that choice, and teach a principle. The faculty member may remind the student that class attendance may be prohibited, if necessary, and the Honor Code Office is available to help.
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    I'm a male faculty member, and I do a lot of my teaching in a "pit"-style classroom. The raised seating reveals some sights that are downright embarrassing. It would really help if all of my students were in compliance with Dress and Grooming Standards; but I'm very uncomfortable approaching offending female students. Can the Honor Code Office help?
    It is best to cover the topic adequately in the syllabus and introductory comments at the outset; then follow up with general public comments along the way. If there are still have offenders who don't "get it," give the Honor Code Office a call. They will take it from there.
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    Some of my students come to my class on the upper campus in P.E. clothing. They say it is "BYU issue", so it's legal, but the shorts are well above their knees. Is that appropriate?
    No! Although P.E. issue is appropriate for the course or activity for which it was issued, it is not appropriate for general wear in any other academic or public area. Invite the student in for a confidential interview, point this out, and teach a principle. Let the Honor Code Office know if they can help.
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    A guy in one of my classes wears sideburns clear to the bottom of his earlobes. His hair is cut above his ears and collar, but it always looks windblown. His shorts come to the knee, but he has hairy legs. And not only that, on the warmer days, he wears sandals without socks! He and I have talked about his appearance, but he claims he is in full compliance with BYU Dress and Grooming Standards. I disagree. Which one of us is right?
    It sounds like he has a good case. Trimmed sideburns to the bottom of the ear lobe are permitted, along with hair which is off the ear and collar. Shorts to the knee and sandals, even without socks, are allowed. No mention is made of a windblown hairstyle or hairy legs in the Honor Code.
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    Although I support the BYU Honor Code, I really don't want to get involved with the hassle of enforcing Dress and Grooming standards in my classes. How can I help without getting bogged down in the details?

    • Be a personal example.
    • Publish a clear statement supporting the Honor Code in your syllabus.
    • Be vocally supportive in your classes.
    • Call the Honor Code Office, or the Student Honor Association (SHA), if either of them could help.