The BYU Honor Code Office has changed the way it contacts students and tracks the progress and outcomes of its work.
New software adopted by the HCO provides secure communications so that students will know why they’ve been asked to meet with an administrator before their scheduled appointment.
“Our review of how we serve students showed the importance of clear communication from our office,” said Kevin Utt, Honor Code Office director. “This new system allows us to provide the details students want to know up front while still protecting student privacy.”
In the past, students would receive a generic phone call asking them to schedule an appointment. Then, the students would be informed of the reported misconduct at the beginning of their first meeting. Now the initial communication to students will be a message with a link that allows them to login and view a more detailed letter.
The secure letter will state the reported misconduct and include additional information about a student’s rights within the process. Alternatively, the letter may state that they are invited to meet with an administrator only as a witness.
“In both scenarios, the more detailed initial communication improves transparency and reduces anxiety regarding the process,” Utt said.
The new system will also help Honor Code Office leadership measure staff performance and look for important patterns. Over time they can assess whether student misconduct cases are being handled in a timely and consistent manner for all students.
“The hires we have made in recent years have increased the diversity of our Honor Code Office administrators,” Utt said. “This software will help identify specific areas for training and track overall outcomes. We are ready for a new school year and look forward to implementing these changes and assessing their effectiveness.”
Conflict Resolution Resources
Utt noted that in the past there was an element of students using the Honor Code Office to resolve conflicts that could have been settled directly through effective communication.
As a free service to students, BYU provides professionally-certified mediators in the Center for Conflict Resolution. Their staff can consult one-on-one with students to prepare them to work through a conflict on their own. They can also provide impartial and confidential mediation services that bring both sides together in hope of finding a solution.
“Learning how to resolve conflict effectively is such a vital life skill,” said Ben Cook, director of the Center for Conflict Resolution. “It can help you improve relationships and experience more peace in your life. We are eager to help empower students with a better understanding of conflict and with communication tools they can use in their time at BYU and throughout their lives.”
Additionally, if a roommate situation is not conducive to the Honor Code, students may turn to resident assistants, hall advisors or the Off-Campus Housing office for help working it out.
“Students who combine personal commitment with respect and compassion help create the environment that BYU strives to foster,” Utt said.