BYU’s Honor Code Office updated the website HonorCode.BYU.edu today with additional student resources and information about Honor Code Office procedures.
The update includes details about the appeals process, accompanying support persons, a title change for HCO employees and a statement of good faith.
“In order to help reduce misunderstanding and anxiety, we’ve learned we need to better educate the campus community about what a correct process looks like,” said Kevin Utt, director of BYU’s Honor Code Office. “Being transparent helps a student articulate if something isn’t going according to plan and provides the opportunity for concrete feedback.”
Utt noted that all Honor Code Office administrators have completed training from the Association for Student Conduct Administration on appropriate questions to ask during student conduct meetings. This training from ASCA – a national organization that develops and promotes best practices for universities – will be reviewed on a regular basis and is now part of the onboarding process for new HCO employees.
“One important part of this training is how to ask questions sufficient and appropriate to the case and not go beyond the scope needed,” Utt said. “This best practice helps make the process respectful and fair.”
Utt became the Honor Code Office director in January and began a review of all Honor Code Office policies and practices. Today’s website update includes improvements and clarifications that are in addition to those Utt announced in May. Some examples include:
Statement of Good Faith
Students will be presumed to NOT be in violation of an Honor Code policy unless they either accept responsibility or the investigation process makes such a determination.
Students have the option to choose someone such as a friend, faculty or staff member to accompany them in meetings with the Honor Code Office. In response to feedback from students, the Honor Code Office website now details the process of bringing such a support person.
While a path to appeal an HCO action has long been in place, Utt said that awareness of the process was low. Students have a right to appeal their decision if they feel it was not reasonably supported by facts, the action was too harsh, the HCO was biased, or new information is available that may change the findings.
HCO Administrators, not Counselors
The website previously referred to Honor Code Office employees as counselors, which created some confusion. To reflect their role as student conduct professionals – and not therapists – staff are now called Honor Code Office administrators. These administrators refer students to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for mental health counseling if needed.
“I have taken seriously the charge to review each facet of Honor Code process,” Utt said. “The feedback from the students has been an essential component to this process, as it has provided a comprehensive perspective on the realities and perceptions of the Honor Code and the Honor Code Office. We will continue to communicate updates as they are rolled out so that students know what to expect as they arrive on campus for the Fall semester.”
In a May 13 letter to students, Utt shared several improvements already implemented by the Honor Code Office. This includes being told at the start of the first meeting the nature of the reported violation and the name of the person making the report, except in situations where it is a matter of safety.