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HappyJackWagon

BYU-I Sexual Assault: Ecclesiastical Endorsement Loophole

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1 minute ago, clarkgoble said:

The reality is that Bishops will regularly be lied to. However given the problems of the honors code department I think the Bishop would do a better job. Yes there will be some small number who will screw up. However that's going to be a problem no matter what you do. So I'm under no illusions Bishops will be perfect. I just think it better than the alternatives.

That's not remotely part of it as is. Further, I believe in Title IX cases, no confronting witnesses is an intrinsic part of it. (I think Title IX has just as many problems intrinsic to the system I should note)

I'd love more due process in the system. However I'd note that those attacking Bishop endorsements usually don't want more due process either.

I might have more faith in the honor code office were it significantly reformed. But as is I have very little faith for such reforms. And I won't comment about some hypothetical ideal honor code office because I doubt we'd get such a system. Given the realistic options I simply think Bishops are more apt to do a better job than the honor code office or no endorsements at all.

Do you think there is a problem of silencing victims who may have had a few beers or may have engaged in something inappropriate, yet said no to more, only to be sexually assaulted?  In this case, the jerk retaliated by going to the young ladies' bishop and she was subsequently punished because the bishop didn't believe the sexual assault mattered as far as her conduct was concerned.  Is this just a loophole that should be tolerated in your opinion?  What about having a system of giving three strikes and keeping the strike tally confidential so there is no greater incentive to these jerks who want to retaliate?

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1 minute ago, clarkgoble said:

The reality is that Bishops will regularly be lied to. However given the problems of the honors code department I think the Bishop would do a better job. Yes there will be some small number who will screw up. However that's going to be a problem no matter what you do. So I'm under no illusions Bishops will be perfect. I just think it better than the alternatives.

That's not remotely part of it as is. Further, I believe in Title IX cases, no confronting witnesses is an intrinsic part of it. (I think Title IX has just as many problems intrinsic to the system I should note)

I'd love more due process in the system. However I'd note that those attacking Bishop endorsements usually don't want more due process either.

I might have more faith in the honor code office were it significantly reformed. But as is I have very little faith for such reforms. And I won't comment about some hypothetical ideal honor code office because I doubt we'd get such a system. Given the realistic options I simply think Bishops are more apt to do a better job than the honor code office or no endorsements at all.

I'm curious why you think a Bishop would be better at this? Why would 1 person who changes every few years be more reliable than a system with organizational accountability? Bishop's don't receive training on this kind of thing. I understand concerns about the current HC office, but it seems like it would be a much more sustainable and reliable process to work with. One man acting unilaterally would seem to be more capricious than a bureaucratic system with checks, balances, and appeals.

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10 minutes ago, bluebell said:

If you believe that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your brother, then it probably makes more sense that a lack of home teaching (without good cause)  could get someone's endorsement revoked more so than taking a drink of alcohol.  

Beyond that, i'm not a fan of equating consequences for our choices with being controlling/acting like satan.  That doesn't make sense to me.

IMO-Controlling behavior via punishment, or threat of punishment is much more satan-like than Christ-like. Just because an action has an imposed consequence doesn't mean it's fair or kind.

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

As I'm sure everyone remembers BYU & BYU-I have adopted changes to policy with regards to victims of sxual assault. In an attempt to encourage victims to report assault as well as keep the victims in school, the BYU schools granted amnesty to victims so that even if they were breaking the honor code at the time of an assault, they could still report it without fear of being kicked out of school. Apparently there's a loophole in that plan. Even though the honor code office no longer investigates and reports misconduct which could terminate a students acceptance at the university, a bishop can still pull the student's ecclesiastical endorsement for honor code violations.

In this case the woman called police and pressed charges. The accused man went to the bishop and confessed misconduct and also told the bishop that the woman had been drinking alcohol. Because she had been drinking, he pulled her endorsement and effectively expelled her from school. I'm not sure that we can know the motive of the man for telling the bishop about the woman's drinking, but an argument can at least be made that it was a retaliatory action. IOW- he was getting back at the woman who turned him in, knowing that she would also get in trouble.

While there is a difference between an honor code office investigation which results in expulsion and an accusation made to a bishop who then pulls an ecclesiastical endorsement, the effect is the same. The victim is expelled from school. This will continue the chilling effect and discourage victims from reporting assault. If an abuser knows he can tell a bishop about other honor code violations which could result in the ecclesiastical endorsement being pulled, the abuser has tremendous power to intimidate the victim to keep her from reporting.

So what can be done? Should a bishop ignore reports of honor code violations? Should the ecclesiastical endorsement be revamped or removed as a requirement for attending?

 

When I read what you stated my first assumption was that the fellow went and confessed to his bishop. In his confession, he admitted that he and a girl were drinking together. It would seem strange if she drank and he did not. But, as you said, you can make the argument that he reported her drinking to get back at her. I guess I would need more facts.

I remain perplexed at drinking at a school, one of the very few in the USA. Of all the other alternatives to a university education why is a student attending such a school only to go ahead and break the rules they agreed to observe. Yes, I believe that if you break the rules you should pay the consequences. 

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2 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

When I read what you stated my first assumption was that the fellow went and confessed to his bishop. In his confession, he admitted that he and a girl were drinking together. It would seem strange if she drank and he did not. But, as you said, you can make the argument that he reported her drinking to get back at her. I guess I would need more facts.

I remain perplexed at drinking at a school, one of the very few in the USA. Of all the other alternatives to a university education why is a student attending such a school only to go ahead and break the rules they agreed to observe. Yes, I believe that if you break the rules you should pay the consequences. 

And a perpetrator should be able to use that information to discourage a victim from reporting?

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2 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

I was an academic advisor at a state university for a short time. The kids who were transferring from the BYU schools often lost massive amounts of credits, mainly due to the religion classes. State universities will usually accept elective credits for very general religion classes but absolutely nothing from denomination specific classes. It's not uncommon for an incoming junior or senior to find themselves a sophomore again.

This is a really complex problem. I went to BYU for my first undergraduate experience and I loved it. I had a hard time understanding all the honor code violations going on all the time. I felt like my friends who didn't want to keep the honor code shouldn't be there. However, I went because I wanted to go. My family didn't care where I went to college (or if I went to college). Many kids are pressured by their families to go to a BYU school and I understand that pressure much more now than I did then.

Question: Was the young man who assaulted the girl also expelled? In my mind, her behavior may have violated the honor code but it was not illegal. His violated the honor code, her body and the law.

I think it said he was also suspended for 2 semesters- the same punishment as the victim.

To me, the article made it sound like the Bishop was more pleased with the attacker because of his "willingness to repent" and less so with the victim because she wasn't willing to talk about the drinking aspect, and therefore not repentant. The bishop even told her not to be so bitter, to which she responded with something like "I was assaulted, of course I'm bitter." The bishop said the assault was irrelevant to the issue of her drinking. He didn't seem to recognize the way the honor code could be weaponized against her in retaliation for her reporting.

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24 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

And a perpetrator should be able to use that information to discourage a victim from reporting?

You are making an assumption where the facts are not in evidence. What is the alternative for the young man?  "Oh, Bishop I went out drinking with this girl - she has to remain anonymous - and I abused her."  You are creating a scenario that is not feasible or realistic.

On the other hand, I think the bishop is doing something for the girl that she has been unwilling to do for herself. She does not want to live by the standards of BYU, but she, for her own reasons, cannot leave. This frees her to live a lifestyle that is more honest and in keeping with her own personal standards.  It may be painful, but she gets what she wants in the long run. 

It just seems odd to give a pass to those that break the rules they have sworn to live by.  It does not make sense to me.

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31 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

IMO-Controlling behavior via punishment, or threat of punishment is much more satan-like than Christ-like. Just because an action has an imposed consequence doesn't mean it's fair or kind.

Umm. What? Have you read the Gospels? Christ loved that kind of rhetoric. "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matt 5:22)

27 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

Question: Was the young man who assaulted the girl also expelled? In my mind, her behavior may have violated the honor code but it was not illegal. His violated the honor code, her body and the law.

Yes.

37 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I'm curious why you think a Bishop would be better at this? Why would 1 person who changes every few years be more reliable than a system with organizational accountability? Bishop's don't receive training on this kind of thing. I understand concerns about the current HC office, but it seems like it would be a much more sustainable and reliable process to work with. One man acting unilaterally would seem to be more capricious than a bureaucratic system with checks, balances, and appeals.

Because there's fewer political incentives and pressures. Whereas one problem with the honor code office is the huge amount of pressure from parents who want to create the ideal environment. But really the reason I think it is just by observing what causes more problems - bishops or hco.

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34 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

IMO-Controlling behavior via punishment, or threat of punishment is much more satan-like than Christ-like. Just because an action has an imposed consequence doesn't mean it's fair or kind.

I think it just depends on personal interpretation and semantics.  Withholding admittance into the Celestial Kingdom if you have covenanted to obey the word of wisdom but done can accurately be described as a punishment.  It can also accurately be described as a consequence of a person's use of agency.  

Adhering to one description over another doesn't have any impact on one being more Christ-like or more satan-like.  That designation completely depends on whether or not the person making it agrees with the action, and not the action itself.  If they think the action is fair, they'll see it as Christ-like.  If they don't think it's fair, they'll call it satanic.  

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35 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

I was an academic advisor at a state university for a short time. The kids who were transferring from the BYU schools often lost massive amounts of credits, mainly due to the religion classes. State universities will usually accept elective credits for very general religion classes but absolutely nothing from denomination specific classes. It's not uncommon for an incoming junior or senior to find themselves a sophomore again.

This is a really complex problem. I went to BYU for my first undergraduate experience and I loved it. I had a hard time understanding all the honor code violations going on all the time. I felt like my friends who didn't want to keep the honor code shouldn't be there. However, I went because I wanted to go. My family didn't care where I went to college (or if I went to college). Many kids are pressured by their families to go to a BYU school and I understand that pressure much more now than I did then.

Question: Was the young man who assaulted the girl also expelled? In my mind, her behavior may have violated the honor code but it was not illegal. His violated the honor code, her body and the law.

What is up with the police and prosecutor in Rexburg?  The guy hasn't even been contacted by the police when a Title XI sexual assault case was substantiated?  His story of not being himself when he is tired is clear nonsense and his running to the bishop seems to be an attempt at implying consent because, you know, she was drinking.  I wonder if the police and prosecutor have the same idea about those who drink and consent?  

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1 hour ago, Exiled said:

  What about having a system of giving three strikes and keeping the strike tally confidential so there is no greater incentive to these jerks who want to retaliate?

It is possible something like this occurred and it was her third strike. Since such a system would be confidential, there would be no way to know how much prior behavior a Bishop was aware of....just like this time. 

Edited by Calm
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47 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

I was an academic advisor at a state university for a short time. The kids who were transferring from the BYU schools often lost massive amounts of credits, mainly due to the religion classes. State universities will usually accept elective credits for very general religion classes but absolutely nothing from denomination specific classes. It's not uncommon for an incoming junior or senior to find themselves a sophomore again.

This is a really complex problem. I went to BYU for my first undergraduate experience and I loved it. I had a hard time understanding all the honor code violations going on all the time. I felt like my friends who didn't want to keep the honor code shouldn't be there. However, I went because I wanted to go. My family didn't care where I went to college (or if I went to college). Many kids are pressured by their families to go to a BYU school and I understand that pressure much more now than I did then.

Question: Was the young man who assaulted the girl also expelled? In my mind, her behavior may have violated the honor code but it was not illegal. His violated the honor code, her body and the law.

This reflects my thinking as well. They should encourage reporting those who rape. It is a sin, and is very hurtful to others. The school should be much more concerned about quelling such activity than whether someone had a beer. IMHO having a drink of beer or wine is not a sin. It may be a violation of the honor code, and maybe drinking limits for minors, but that's it. Maybe a 2 strike policy would be better, so that one gets a warning before being kicked out. I don't think anyone is going to get excommunicated for having a beer. Being kicked out for having a beer just seems a bit extreme to me, but if they agree to it upfront, I am not offended by it. After attending a party school for a semester, my brother switched to BYU and loved it. He and I are the only members of our family still active. I only drank with my friends because they drank. I'm sure I would have been happy at BYU too, but something about the atmosphere created by reporting your peers bothers me. It doesn't seem to be a mature, adult atmosphere, but it seems to work for them.

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28 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

You are making an assumption where the facts are not in evidence. What is the alternative for the young man?  "Oh, Bishop I went out drinking with this girl - she has to remain anonymous - and I abused her."  You are creating a scenario that is not feasible or realistic.

On the other hand, I think the bishop is doing something for the girl that she has been unwilling to do for herself. She does not want to live by the standards of BYU, but she, for her own reasons, cannot leave. This frees her to live a lifestyle that is more honest and in keeping with her own personal standards.  It may be painful, but she gets what she wants in the long run. 

It just seems odd to give a pass to those that break the rules they have sworn to live by.  It does not make sense to me.

From the article, the young man clearly takes advantage of the young lady because she was drunk, sexually assaulting her.  He responds to her accusations by viewing himself in the third person, to distance himself from the conduct, claiming to her that he isn't himself when he is tired.  Then when notified by the Title XI office, he runs to his bishop in an attempt to muddy the consent waters because the young lady was drinking and obviously the intoxicated are more likely to consent, right?  Why hasn't he been criminally charged?  Even so, I agree that she should leave the school and hopefully she has family that won't hold it against her if she no longer believes.

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5 minutes ago, Calm said:

It is possible something like this occurred and it is was her third strike. Since such a system would be confidential, there would be no way to know how much prior behavior a Bishop was aware of....just like this time. 

You know everything is possible.  But there isn't this type of policy in place, right?  Even so, the system itself should be known in order to stop retaliation.

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1 hour ago, Thinking said:

There needs to be an appeals process so that each case can be judged individually.

I'm cool with an appeals process. From what others have said, it seems like there is already a way to appeal by taking the matter to the stake president. I'm not certain if it can be appealed beyond that, but I could be persuaded that additional review might be warranted if such isn't the case already.  

I had a philosophy professor who said something along the lines of how we, as a society, tend to pass laws like Kant and then enforce them like Mill (Kantian ethics being universal in nature while Mill was a utilitarian). 

I think a similar approach should be taken in cases like these. Are there times when leaving an ecclesiastical endorsement in place is warranted? Sure. I'm amenable to that. But I can easily think of situations where that might not be an option as well (see my earlier hypothetical). 

 

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2 hours ago, Exiled said:

Yeah, this was one of the reasons I didn't want to attend BYU.  Maybe this is the solution?  Walk away and if enough do so, the church seems to soften always.  Authority only exists if the member acknowledges such.

I doubt there would ever be enough given the cost benefit as well as Church environment. Perhaps Endorsement could be tied to costs rather than attendance for non legal violations. If they don’t abide by the word of wisdom or other aspects of church membership, remove the financial benefit of being a member, but don’t automatically suspend or expel. 

I don’t see what amounts to a year suspension as that big of a deal, except perhaps having to explain to your parents why you are coming home. Tell everyone else you decided to come home and work for a year because you needed the time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Probably true in many cases. 

I am willing to be persuaded a year’s suspension is worse than I am imagining, everyone I knew who took off a year or more as far as I know did so by choice or needed to make money. 

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4 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

...............................................

While there is a difference between an honor code office investigation which results in expulsion and an accusation made to a bishop who then pulls an ecclesiastical endorsement, the effect is the same. The victim is expelled from school. This will continue the chilling effect and discourage victims from reporting assault. If an abuser knows he can tell a bishop about other honor code violations which could result in the ecclesiastical endorsement being pulled, the abuser has tremendous power to intimidate the victim to keep her from reporting.

So what can be done? Should a bishop ignore reports of honor code violations? Should the ecclesiastical endorsement be revamped or removed as a requirement for attending?

Welcome to the real world.  Fortunately, we can immediately transfer to UVU and continue our education.

No, bishops will continue to follow their regular rules -- which are not part of the BYU process -- and retaliation will continue to be a credible threat.  A word to the wise.

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11 minutes ago, Exiled said:

You know everything is possible.  But there isn't this type of policy in place, right?  Even so, the system itself should be known in order to stop retaliation.

Not having the system in place might make it easier in other ways in the sense people can choose to assume this was an anomaly for the girl and she didn’t make a habit of drinking. Three strike rule in place that benefit of the doubt would be removed. 

If bishops are the vast majority of them compassionate and prefer to work with the kids, would the cost of making a rule like this actually lead to more bishops pulling endorsements because they no longer see it as opened ended but limited to three known episodes?

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So you changed your mind about how extreme that was?

I suppose, technically, I still considered it to be extreme - just extreme and warranted / justified; whereas before I thought it was needlessly extreme.

 

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here is my opinion

BYU has amnesty from for the activities surrounding an sexual assault; this would include drinking leading up to the assault.

Ecclesiastical Code IS PART of the Honor Code. 

Because the endorsement is part of the Honor Code and amnesty is given to events surrounding, then loss of endorsment is not a basis for suspension.

The Ecclesiastical Authority has the right to revoke, BYU hasnt the right to suspend....because the loss of endorsement is within the amnesty, because the loss of endorsemenr is based on the activities for which amnesty is granted.

 

What should have happened is, Bishop revokes endorsement and works with the victim, so long as the victim is working with the Bishop to regain endorsement the student is permitted to remain in good standing with the school

Edited by provoman
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15 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Welcome to the real world.  Fortunately, we can immediately transfer to UVU and continue our education..

Can out of state students count their time at BYU as residency, especially if they went home over summer to work?  If not, I wonder what the costs are like.  It is open enrollment I believe, so not a problem there

last I heard more students were transferring to UVU from BYU than the reverse, as long as you live in Utah likely not a big deal. 

Edited by Calm

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1 hour ago, Storm Rider said:

You are making an assumption where the facts are not in evidence. What is the alternative for the young man?  "Oh, Bishop I went out drinking with this girl - she has to remain anonymous - and I abused her."  You are creating a scenario that is not feasible or realistic.

On the other hand, I think the bishop is doing something for the girl that she has been unwilling to do for herself. She does not want to live by the standards of BYU, but she, for her own reasons, cannot leave. This frees her to live a lifestyle that is more honest and in keeping with her own personal standards.  It may be painful, but she gets what she wants in the long run. 

It just seems odd to give a pass to those that break the rules they have sworn to live by.  It does not make sense to me.

I hear what you're saying but it strikes me as condescending and patronizing. Do you believe this girl, and other victims who violated the honor code in other ways, need others to tell them how to be happy and restrict their educational choices for their own good? Should she thank the bishop for kicking her out of BYU-I?

Quote

Robert Smith-

Welcome to the real world.  Fortunately, we can immediately transfer to UVU and continue our education.

No, bishops will continue to follow their regular rules -- which are not part of the BYU process -- and retaliation will continue to be a credible threat.  A word to the wise.

And you don't think victims should be protected from retaliation? Do you believe that if they broke the honor code in some way, they deserve to be kicked out of school?

If so, should BYU rescind it's amnesty policy? If they break the honor code...they should go?

Does it concern you that this kind of practice has led to underreporting of sxual assault? Do you have a problem with that or is it just a natural consequence victims need to learn to navigate?

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Being assaulted is not a "get out of jail" card for decisions one does make.  We are responsible for our actions and not the actions of others.  A student is responsible if they use alcohol and that leads to them being assaulted.  Had they not used alcohol, perhaps the assault would have been avoided.  The real issue is punishment.  Should a student lose their endorsement for drinking alcohol?  I guess that depends on the level of repentance.  If they promise not to do it again, perhaps do not pull it.  Bishops should be there to help students do better and progress.  I am not sure how kicking them out of school helps.  It probably will do more harm than good.   If a student says they will not stop drinking, then of course pull the endorsement. 

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I think maybe all the BYUs should have support groups (led by actual experts) to help students who struggle with alcohol use, chastity, etc. and the bishops could refer them to those resources if they do really want to stop the behavior.  College bishops certainly don't have time to meet one on one with every student who struggles (and they really aren't usually trained in behavior modification). I'm not sure a bishop's counsel is always enough. Actually trying to help them first as a possible alternative to just kicking them out if they violate these rules. Of course I'm just musing on the honor code challenges. The bigger issue is the sexual assault v confidentiality and the conflict of interest here. I think this Bishop is straining at a gnat and swallowing the camel. If this girl was drunk to the point of being passed out, she clearly needs help--not condemnation. Reminds me of a Bishop I had who cared more about the "sin" of drinking diet coke than the sin of incest (but that's another topic).

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