Today we received an email from our friends at BYU Political Review. Editor Zach Davis and co. are putting their weight behind a protest to be held tomorrow at 1 pm. in the quad immediately adjacent the Wilkinson Center.
At first we thought this was an April Fools joke, then our brother Matt reminded us that March has thirty-one days. Thanks Matt. Maybe they are a day early?
Mr. Davis included a copy of their reasons for protest written by Ms. Ashley Sanders. We support Ms. Sanders, Mr. Davis, et al. to the extent that they protest the ridiculous dismissal of Mr. Hendricks. On Monday we explained our critique of BYUSA and their handling of the situation. However, we have a tough time extending full support to this protest, in part because some of their stated reasons are nonsensical. Says Ms. Sanders,
We are protesting serveral [sic] things: one, that BYU espouses the virtues of honor and integrity unless those virtues find fault with its own policies and practices.
When was the last time “virtues [found] fault with anything (hat tip: Matt Lybbert)? Perhaps she meant to say that ‘BYU espouses honor and integrity unless they don’t jive with their own policies and practices?’ She goes on:
two, that BYU students have no legislative voice in their own governmental organization (which is merely a social planning organization and has no real power to affect [sic] change) and therefore have no legitimate avenue to express dissent and to make suggestions.
Lack of a legislative voice for students is not the issue in Hendricks termination kerfuffle. It may be a problem–we’ll save debate there for another day–but BYU will never permit such student involvement. Considering what University of Washington students have done with their legislative body, maybe it’s a good thing.
The third issue Ms. Sanders raises is tough for several reasons:
three, that the emphasis on honor and integrity–being codified and formalized through a system of codes and consequences–hinders critical thinking and expression of conscience against the majority.
We assume this is a shot across the bow of the Honor Code. How or why what started as a protest of Hendricks’ firing turned into an attack on the Honor Code is not clear. In our original post about this issue we state clearly our support of the Honor Code and continue to believe that the two are disparate issues.
Furthermore, attacking the Honor Code will not win much support and is such an extreme position that many who may have been supportive otherwise, will simply tune this group out. We’ve never participated in a sit-in, but we imagine that Protest 101 must teach that messages should be simple and clear–and hold broad appeal. When was the last time the Honor Code kept someone from writing a letter to the Daily Universe complaining about the prohibition of facial hair?
Reason #4 and the big finish:
that these same codes and consequences create and [sic] environment where image is more important than reality and in which unscrupulous things are done to maintain that image despite all evidence to the contrary. In short, we believe that students should be able to express their opinions without fear of punishment (if these opinions are stated in a mature, analytical way[analytical?]) and that there should be a legitimate political avenue to provide for and safeguard these expressions. Without these safegaurds [sic], the administration will continue to be able to do whatever it wants without informing the students, being responsible to the campus community, or providing clear arguments in order to obtain student consent.
On Monday we focused our criticism on BYUSA. The wording of this letter, and the protest tomorrow, attacks more than just BYUSA, it attacks BYU and the Honor Code. We share their disappointment in the BYU administration for standing by, but we are convinced that the bad policy and decisions came from BYUSA.
BYU contains too many departments, schools, colleges, etc., for President Samuelson to personally oversee personnel decisions at every level. Ideally, the fallout caused by this incident will bring about fundamental change to BYUSA. It’s easy to ignore meaningless student elections for meaningless positions, but when tempered efforts to effect change are met with termination of an excellent employee, one hopes President Samuelson would take note.