What We Missed

This really happened: A college basketball player has been kicked off his team for violating the school’s “honor code” — by having premarital sex.

A fantastic post by an abortion provider on the realities of the work and her patients. Melissa on the Community blog has more. (Related: Also check out the amazing blog, The Abortioneers.)

Five months after Tyler Clementi’s death, Rutgers University has approved housing for LGBT students.

A high profile anti-choice rep is saying many Republicans will vote against the spending bill if it doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood.

Anna Holmes on Charlie Sheen and violence against women.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/erinelizabeth11/ Erin

    I’m new to the site but was curious about this particular post. While I find it comical that a college with this sort of “honor code” exists, I don’t think it’s ridiculous that he got kicked off the team for violating it. He agreed when he chose BYU as his college to adhere to their moral standard. He didn’t have to go there, and he could have picked another school.

    So basically my question is, are you inferring that it was wrong of BYU to suspend him or just that we should be laughing at the school’s choice of values?

    Maybe I completely missed the mark and we are supposed to be analyzing male athletes inability to keep it in their pants?

    • http://feministing.com/members/rcs500/ Rebecca

      Erin, I think the issue here is the content of the school’s honor code. There aren’t many people left who will claim college students don’t have sex. BYU’s honor code is way behind the curve, and worse, it penalizes students for healthy expressions of sexuality. (I’m sure you realized this.)

      What this brings up in my mind is a crucial part of every college campus: health services. If the school’s honor code prohibits premarital sex, there can’t be much access to contraceptives and information on safe sex. That’s a scary thought on a campus the size of BYU.

      • http://feministing.com/members/runninggirl/ Cate

        I’m really going to have to disagree. Most college students do have sex at college, but BYU students are required to read and sign the honor code before entering the school, agreeing to live by it. Presumably, students go to BYU because they are interested in living according to these kinds of religious rules. The students are adults who are contractually agreeing to live a certain way, and this basketball player didn’t live up to his agreement.

        I’m sure that there is a paucity of information about sexual activity and birth control on campus, and abstention is not what I want for my own sexual life, but that doesn’t address the fact that students chose to go to a school that has certain limitations on his social interactions, and agreed to act in that way. They are actually paying for the privilege!

        As much as I want to protect the rights of the general public to have access to birth control and sexual health info, I think that this is a lot different than, say, de-funding PP or taking away comprehensive sex ed in public high schools. Those acts take away a person’s choice to safely exercise their own sexuality. This is a community of people who choose not to delve into their sexual lives while at college and still single.

  • http://feministing.com/members/cromage/ A Viescas

    Number 1 isn’t really news when the “college” in question is the Brigham Young University. You can also be kicked out for drinking alcohol or being gay.

  • anyadnight

    I’m with A Viescas everyone here in Utah heard about it and laughed. Not surprised at all. Erin has a point, it doesn’t really matter how ridiculous an honor code is, if you read and sign the dotted line you should expect to be held to it.
    But while we’re talking about BYU, you can get in trouble if your roommate says you masturbate or if you grow too much facial hair. The honor code is strict. At least at this school it actually applies to the basketball players too.

  • http://feministing.com/members/43t9fisldjfdsfqo9rg3/ 43t9 fisl

    The type of victim blaming in the comments above and indeed the general reaction I’m seeing to this BYU story leaves me near seething. Most people agree that the honor code is absurd. Almost nobody, though, disagrees with its enforcement. Mr. Davies’ future has been severely compromised by this incident, but it is apparently his fault for putting himself in such an unforgiving environment. You could say, indeed, in reasoning we all supposedly despise, that he “knew what he was getting into”, that he was “asking for it”.

    Further, BYU is the premiere educational institution in Utah. Davies was born and raised in Provo. He identifies as LDS. The insulting, shortsighted idea that he should have just attended another school to the impairment and isolation of himself evokes ugly memories from the segregation era, where aspiring minority students were harangued from all angles of society for wanting to better themselves. Perhaps Davies should have “known his place” and not applied for a school near his family and friends? And indeed, that Davies is black shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Jim McMahon was famous for his flaunting of the BYU honor code. Steve Young and Ty Detmer were more clandestine, but still caroused in violation of school policies. Overwhelmingly, minority student athletes are the ones punished at BYU, and overwhelmingly, nobody notices or cares.

    Given all this, it is lost on me how people feel comfortable passively defending BYU’s actions. BYU is even being actively praised for keeping true to their “principles”, as if there’s something noble in being consistently and indiscriminately (though not really) harmful. That BYU’s public image has actually improved over this debacle is the ultimate absurdity.

    Finally, Davies was the one who came forward to school officials because having sex with his longtime girlfriend was “weighing on his conscience”. The LDS church, BYU, and Provo did that to him. The idea that he made a mistake is being reinforced daily by people like Erin and anyadnight, no matter how well-meaning they are. BYU is wrong. They are wrong. They are wrong! The honor code is wrong and BYU is wrong to enforce it!

    • http://feministing.com/members/gracie12/ Kaitlyn

      If you joined the blue man group and then decided to not paint yourself blue for performances, you would be kicked out. When a consenting adult signs a contract, no matter how silly it is, they are held to it.

      You can think it is a wrong as you want, but the fact of the matter is that school has a right to its religious affiliation and denying them that right would be illegal and immoral. The University has the right to Freedom of Religion.

  • http://feministing.com/members/suntzu1984/ Matt

    In a weird way I actually have some respect for the fact that BYU takes its own honor code seriously enough to hurt its own NCAA chances and all the publicity and money that comes with them. If they’d apply the code to John or Jane I-don’t-play-basketball Doe, then they should apply it universally.

    And for what it’s worth, while I find the honor code’s content a bit absurd, and not anything that I could have seriously contemplated living up to in college, I think it’s legitimate for a school that is honest about its values and expectations up front to enforce them in practice. Kids who want to go to a Mormon college that takes its identity seriously should know what they’re signing up for. It’s not as though there’s a lack of secular/religious-lite, reasonably sex-positive higher ed environments around the country.

    Rebecca’s point is worth considering – what will sexual health services look like at a school whose student body is nominally abstinent? Though I suspect they don’t do this, I can easily imagine a regime being implemented in which such services are made available to the student body, with all records/evidence obtained therein being inadmissible in an honor code investigation. The honor code prohibits drinking alcohol too, but I suspect students would still get their stomachs pumped if there were a concern about alcohol poisoning. Not a perfect analogy I know, but it’s not an impossible tightrope to walk.

  • http://feministing.com/members/themaskedlily/ The Masked Lily

    What does the incident involving the young man at BYU have to do with feminism?

    • http://feministing.com/members/laurenbee/ Lauren

      I can’t speak for the editors, but here’s what I think the BYU story has to do with feminism.

      Opposing and eroding institutionalized shame about/penalization for sex between consenting adults is (for many) a core aspect of feminism. Both men and women are victims when rules are made from a patriarchal perspective, and it would be unjust for us to only decry sexual shaming when it applies to women.