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BYU Bans Protests on Y Mountain


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Here:

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Brigham Young University is now prohibiting any protests on Y Mountain — nearly a year after a group of students drew national attention for lighting up its iconic “Y” in rainbow colors to call out the school’s ban on LGBTQ relationships.

The rule change was made quietly last month when the private religious school updated its online demonstration policy to expressly list the hillside above Provo as off-limits for rallies. BYU owns the trail up to the concrete “Y” and the surrounding property.

I think this a reasonable thing to do.  BYU has both the right and obligation to regulate behavior on its property.  This pertains not only to safety considerations, but also basic property rights, decorum, and so on.

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Bradley Talbot, a gay student who organized the first surprise light display in March before graduating, and then hosted a second lighting in September, said Tuesday that he sees the ban as a “scare tactic by BYU.”

“But I’m not intimidated by it,” he said. “BYU has always been more afraid of me than I have of them, and I think this is further evidence of that.”

Huh.

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In a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune, school spokesperson Carri Jenkins said the change was about keeping individuals safe on the steep terrain.

“[That] is certainly a concern, as well as having people comply with our policies while on university property,” she said.

So it's not just about safety.

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Talbot, as well as other LGBTQ students and some professors, have spoken out about the change, arguing that the move is more about control than safety. Some noted that the university hosts hikes up to the “Y” each year for homecoming, as well as other events on the property.

Again, Jenkins said "as well has having people comply with our policies while on university property."  So yeah, it's about more than "safety."

I think the issue is not really about "control" except as a reference to control over property.  The property belongs to BYU.  If a private party were to hang a pride flag on my house, I would take it down.  It's my property, and I get to decide who uses it, how it is used, and so on.  Go speechify on your own property to your heart's content, but don't try to appropriate my property against my will.

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And, according to a 2014 congressional bill, which allowed the school to purchase the land from the U.S. Forest Service, BYU also must provide public access. In a 2018 news release announcing the finalized purchase, BYU President Kevin Worthen said at the time: “We look forward to sharing Y Mountain with our neighbors, friends and visitors.”

I don't see this as a "public access" issue.  Property owners can impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on the conduct of those who access Y Mountain.  

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Rebecca de Schweinitz, an associate professor of history at BYU whose research focuses on youth, politics and protests in America, said Tuesday, “I believe that if we are truly concerned about student safety ... it is essential that opportunities for students to express their views not be shut down.”

Meh.  Nobody is shutting down the expression of viewpoints.

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Being able to protest can give students a sense of hope and belonging, she noted, especially those in marginalized communities.

Private property owners are typically not obligated to provide a forum for protests against them.

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But anyone who violates the new rule, according to the university, could be disciplined or arrested. Additionally, the school noted that it may record any protests on campus property “for compliance.” Jenkins said that is a new addition to the policy.

BYU, which is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has long had rules for protesting on the private campus — which, it notes in the updated policy, is “not a public forum.” Before the recent changes, the requirements were called the “Public Expression Policy.” Now, it’s called the “Demonstration Policy.”

Yep.  It's private property.  And I don't think it is appropriate to suggest that BYU has fewer property rights than other private property owners simply because it is BYU.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

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19 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I think this a reasonable thing to do.  BYU has both the right and obligation to regulate behavior on its property.  This pertains not only to safety considerations, but also basic property rights, decorum, and so on.

I think the issue is not really about "control" except as a reference to control over property.  The property belongs to BYU.  If a private party were to hang a pride flag on my house, I would take it down.  It's my property, and I get to decide who uses it, how it is used, and so on.  Go speechify on your own property to your heart's content, but don't try to appropriate my property against my will.

I don't see this as a "public access" issue.  Property owners can impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on the conduct of those who access Y Mountain.  

Private property owners are typically not obligated to provide a forum for protests against them.

Yep.  It's private property.  And I don't think it is appropriate to suggest that BYU has fewer property rights than other private property owners simply because it is BYU.

By definition, isn't protest a rebellion against an authority?
Wouldn't ignoring this and protesting there anyway be more in the spirit of protest?  Or are all protests supposed to be rule following, weak, and ineffectual?

It's time to get tough! Sorry NetEase, you've got it coming! : r/echoes

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4 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

By definition, isn't protest a rebellion against an authority?
Wouldn't ignoring this and protesting there anyway be more in the spirit of protest?  Or are all protests supposed to be rule following, weak, and ineffectual?

Not always but usually.

And yeah, many people think all protests are supposed to be rule following, weak, and ineffectual. They like it that way.

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15 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

By definition, isn't protest a rebellion against an authority?
Wouldn't ignoring this and protesting there anyway be more in the spirit of protest?  Or are all protests supposed to be rule following, weak, and ineffectual?

And then take the consequences rather than protest you should have a right to rebel without being fined or otherwise punished for using without permission someone else’s property. Demanding to protest without consequence seems to be missing the point.  That is not protest but having someone else provide you with a pulpit. 

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Just now, Calm said:

And then take the consequences rather than protest you should have a right to rebel without being fined or otherwise punished for using without permission someone else’s property. Demanding to protest without consequence seems to be missing the point.  That is not protest but having someone else provide you with a pulpit. 

Or just don’t get caught?

Seriously….have they forgotten the important lessons of childhood?

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1 minute ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

The church can do what it wants, but arresting people for carrying colored flashlights to make a rainbow will make national headlines and won’t be a good look. 

Which is pretty much the point.

Bringing the hammer is usually counterproductive.

 

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I think BYU/the Church stepped on a rake again by tolerating these protests for years. Everyone knows that they are going to do this again and play chicken with BYU --- does anyone really think that BYU will arrest and prosecute the protestors? And that will make them look even weaker than they have over these two years. By allowing the protests, BYU tacitly endorsed them, even though their PR statements said that they don't approve of them. They allowed them, repeatedly. 

It will be interesting to see what happens, because I don't think BYU/the Church has the stomach to arrest and prosecute them when it inevitably happens again. 

I also think it was bad PR to give the stated reason of "safety" as the first reason, even though there are many "approved" excursions to "hike the Y" (Y groups, etc.). If safety were really a consideration, then the trail would be closed and fenced off. 

I think they've painted themselves into a corner on this one. It's also a curious look that it took so long to respond to any of the protests, other than to say through spokespeople that they were not approved by the university. 

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16 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

The church can do what it wants (and I’m sure they had some good lawyers look at the public access requirements for the Y), but arresting people for carrying colored flashlights to make a rainbow will make national headlines and won’t be a good look. 

 

11 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Which is pretty much the point.

Bringing the hammer is usually counterproductive.

 

Does the Church really think that coming down on peaceful protests is really going to make this all go away?  It is far more likely that this is going to explode into national news and totally blow up for the Church.  If I was a gay activist at BYU, I would send this article along with all the other squashing policies (honor code that prohibits holding hands, dating, hugging for LGBT students for example, maybe throw in Elder Holland's talk) BYU keeps throwing up against their LGBT students to every single LGBT club in the Big 12 Conference.  Let's see how all this all plays out on national TV every week for the next football season.  I predict a half time gay flag about the size of the football showing up.  Then sports teams refusing to play BYU.  We have kinda been down this discrimination road once before haven't we?  And this is all because they don't want colored flashlights on the Y?  I guarantee you, BYU will not be able to control the narrative.

Get the popcorn.  

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48 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

By definition, isn't protest a rebellion against an authority?

Well, not necessarily

Lawful protest is protected speech.  Criticizing an authority is not necessarily equivalent to rebelling against it.

48 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Wouldn't ignoring this and protesting there anyway be more in the spirit of protest?  Or are all protests supposed to be rule following, weak, and ineffectual?

Protests should generally be within the confines of the law.  That would include respecting the rights of a property owner.

Thanks,

-Smac

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16 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

The church can do what it wants (and I’m sure they had some good lawyers look at the public access requirements for the Y), but arresting people for carrying colored flashlights to make a rainbow will make national headlines and won’t be a good look. 

Which, no doubt, would be the intended outcome.

Gotta love the coercive element of this strategy.  Imagine if a husband went out of his way to publicly humiliate his wife because he disagreed with a decision she had made. 

Imagine if he had the calculated and deliberate intention of using such humiliation to bend her to his will.  To use a threatened or actualized injury to her reputation and standing in the community to coerce her into altering her behavior to suit his preferences.

Now, he can certainly do this.  And it certainly - as you put it - "won't be a good look" for his wife.  

But it sure makes you question whether such mistreatment and coercive bullying is seemly or appropriate to that relationship.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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11 minutes ago, rongo said:

I think BYU/the Church stepped on a rake again by tolerating these protests for years.

I think BYU / the Church was trying to be accommodating.  They have succeeded in reaching accords in other instances (the "Utah Compact" being a good example), so perhaps they thought they could cope with some measure of extra tolerance for what would otherwise be plainly inappropriate conduct.

I've said this before (in a somewhat different, though related, context) :

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The Church is teaching the Law of Chastity, the Proclamation, and so on.  These principles are not only eminently sound and reasoned, they are also revelatory.  

The Church doesn't want to die on this hill.  The Church doesn't want to be on this hill, or to fight on it.  But some are insistent on bringing the fight to the Church, and demanding that it capitulate to popular trends about sexual identity or else face horrible, and false, accusations (such as insinuations about causing suicide, as you have done here).
...
IMO this "war" is being started by people who are demanding that others capitulate in terms of speech, religion, social mores, and other important aspects of life.  And if that capitulation doesn't come, then comes the lawfare.  Then comes insults and accusations ("phobia" being a favorite - as you demonstrate here).

"Live and let live" was, I think, a smokescreen.

11 minutes ago, rongo said:

Everyone knows that they are going to do this again and play chicken with BYU --- does anyone really think that BYU will arrest and prosecute the protestors?

Arrest?  No.  Discipline, including possibly suspension or expulsion from BYU?  Yep, that is likely on the table.  And it should be.

11 minutes ago, rongo said:

And that will make them look even weaker than they have over these two years. By allowing the protests, BYU tacitly endorsed them, even though their PR statements said that they don't approve of them. They allowed them, repeatedly. 

BYU and the Church have at times went out of their way to accommodate such things, but those accommodations are not endless.

11 minutes ago, rongo said:

I also think it was bad PR to give the stated reason of "safety" as the first reason, even though there are many "approved" excursions to "hike the Y" (Y groups, etc.). If safety were really a consideration, then the trail would be closed and fenced off. 

I think "safety" may have more to do with numbers, with potential materials, and so on.

Way back when I was at BYU (1996 or so), a bunch of students from the University of Utah pulled a prank by painting a giant "U" over the Y.  I could see some risk of damage or injury arising from carrying buckets up there, painting and running around, and otherwise acting outside the scope of the license typically associated with "public access" (which is pretty much hiking up and then back, and nothing else).

11 minutes ago, rongo said:

I think they've painted themselves into a corner on this one. It's also a curious look that it took so long to respond to any of the protests, other than to say through spokespeople that they were not approved by the university. 

Maybe they were waiting for things to calm down a bit.  Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment.

Thanks,

-Smac

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3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Arrest?  No.  Discipline, including possibly suspension or expulsion from BYU?  Yep, that is likely on the table.  And it should be.

I would be stunned if BYU disciplined any gay issue protestors. They have looked terrified to engage in any way, so far ("accommodating"). It took a long two weeks of radio silence the first time before Elder Johnson came out with a response. I think BYU/the Church are both gun-shy and rabbit-eared about adverse media coverage. I really hope that there was resolve and a plan behind this, because it's going to be tested strongly by the likes of this student Talbot & friends (they are a lot more scared of me than I am of them). 

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40 minutes ago, california boy said:

Does the Church really think that coming down on peaceful protests is really going to make this all go away?  

A protest can be "peaceful" and yet still unlawful.

If and when you start letting people who disagree with you use your private property to loudly and obnoxiously proclaim that disagreement, please let us know.  Otherewise, I would hope that you would grant the Church the basic property rights you reserve to yourself.

40 minutes ago, california boy said:

It is far more likely that this is going to explode into national news and totally blow up for the Church.  If I was a gay activist at BYU, I would send this article along with all the other squashing policies (honor code that prohibits holding hands, dating, hugging for LGBT students for example, maybe throw in Elder Holland's talk) BYU keeps throwing up against their LGBT students to every single LGBT club in the Big 12 Conference.  Let's see how all this all plays out on national TV every week for the next football season.  I predict a half time gay flag about the size of the football showing up.  Then sports teams refusing to play BYU.  We have kinda been down this discrimination road once before haven't we?  And this is all because they don't want colored flashlights on the Y?  I guarantee you, BYU will not be able to control the narrative.

Get the popcorn.  

And I guarantee you that neither BYU nor the Church would respond in kind, would not resort to these sorts of vexatious, disrespectful manipulations.

Again, gotta love the coercive element of this strategy.  And how positively giddy you are to see it deployed against the Church.  No effort to persuade.  No reasoning.  No evidence.  Just raw, abject, public humiliation.  That's the play you want to see, is it?  "Get the popcorn" and all that.

I like that the Church teaches the Law of Chastity, even when folks like you are salivating at the prospect of it being publicly humiliated and maligned for it.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, california boy said:

 

Does the Church really think that coming down on peaceful protests is really going to make this all go away?

Get the popcorn.  

A peaceful protest does not mean it is lawful.  A skinhead group does not have a right to make an anti-Jewish protest on Jewish property even if the protest in peaceful.  If BYU allows on group to stage a peaceful protest on its property without permission, it needs to allow other groups including anti-gay groups.

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1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

I am trying to parse out this analogy.

Okay.

1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

So the husband is the lgbt community at BYU who are married to BYU who is the wife.

Yes.  There is a pre-existing and voluntary relationship between the two parties.

1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

The general tone of BYU supporters is “if you don’t like the rules then leave” suggesting that the wife is already suggesting that divorce is the preferred option and she has a history of kicking out husbands before.

No.  The "general tone" is that a husband ought not use coercive, manipulative tactics designed to humiliate his wife to and force her to capitulate to his will.

1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

She also has a lot more power in the relationship.

Both have power over the other.  Neither ought to use that power in coercive, manipulative ways.

1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

He doesn’t know what to do so he publicizes the dispute hoping things will get better since suffering in silence has not worked so far.

No.  He knows exactly what he is doing.  He is, by calculation and design, publicly humiliating his wife to coerce her to bend to his will.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, rongo said:

I would be stunned if BYU disciplined any gay issue protestors.

Which is what the gay protesters want.  They want to protest any way they want and ANY response that is negative is seen to be anti-gay.  Probably best for BYU to just remove the Y from the mountain than keeping it up and allowing activist groups to use it as a means of irritation. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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14 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

A peaceful protest does not mean it is lawful.  A skinhead group does not have a right to make an anti-Jewish protest on Jewish property even if the protest in peaceful.

You are trying to come up with an example of a group that protests peacefully as an example and went with skinheads?

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41 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

great scene in an otherwise stupid movie!

I picked up a small amount of French that way though had no clue how to pronounce it. All gone now though. 

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On a more basic level I find the level of pearl-clutching about this just a little excessive.

Students protesting? At a University? To try to drum up popular support for a cause? Well I never in a thousand years could have anticipated this….

Curse this completely unforseeable outcome of running a university!

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Which, no doubt, would be the intended outcome.

Gotta love the coercive element of this strategy.  Imagine if a husband went out of his way to publicly humiliate his wife because he disagreed with a decision she had made. 

Imagine if he had the calculated and deliberte intention of using such humiliation to bend her to his will.  To use a threatened or actualized injury to her reputation and standing in the community to coerce her into altering her behavior to suit his preferences.

Now, he can certainly do this.  And it certainly - as you put it - "won't be a good look" for his wife.  

But it sure makes you question whether such mistreatment and coercive bullying is seemly or appropriate to that relationship.

Thanks,

-Smac

Adding to the annals of the False Equivalency in convincing fashion.

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Here:

I think this a reasonable thing to do.  BYU has both the right and obligation to regulate behavior on its property.  This pertains not only to safety considerations, but also basic property rights, decorum, and so on.

Huh.

So it's not just about safety.

Again, Jenkins said "as well has having people comply with our policies while on university property."  So yeah, it's about more than "safety."

I think the issue is not really about "control" except as a reference to control over property.  The property belongs to BYU.  If a private party were to hang a pride flag on my house, I would take it down.  It's my property, and I get to decide who uses it, how it is used, and so on.  Go speechify on your own property to your heart's content, but don't try to appropriate my property against my will.

I don't see this as a "public access" issue.  Property owners can impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on the conduct of those who access Y Mountain.  

Meh.  Nobody is shutting down the expression of viewpoints.

Private property owners are typically not obligated to provide a forum for protests against them.

Yep.  It's private property.  And I don't think it is appropriate to suggest that BYU has fewer property rights than other private property owners simply because it is BYU.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

I think this is one reason Elder Holland had to address the faculty, staff and student leaders about sustaining the Church and Brethren, pointing out that BYU's purpose is to prepare educated people to build Zion, not harangue over doctrine at every opportunity. I believe there are venues for demonstrations, protests, publication, etc. at BYU, even those that are veiled criticisms of Church doctrine and policy, not just BYU policy. Those that complain that they cannot light up the Y just have to consider the benefits of this policy for the school on the whole (and why shouldn't/wouldn't they?) and light up the world in better ways than this.

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