BYU sexual assault victims will no longer be investigated for honor code violations.
Several landmark changes were announced by Brigham Young University on October 26 regarding its response to students reporting sexual assault. The university will henceforth restructure the Title IX Office of the school. It will also grant amnesty to the victims who have disclosed violations in its honor code. The code prohibits premarital sex and drinking.
The inquiry started in May after several of alumni and female students were vocal against the school opening investigations into honor code violations of students who have reported abuses. Advocates for the victim’s state, this practice discourages sexual violence reporting. This change is a victory for both advocates and victims who have been seeking reform for years. They also function as the acknowledgment for those who insist the practices are deficient.
Kevin J. Worthen, the president of BYU, has emailed both the faculty and students regarding new rules to be implemented. An amnesty clause will be adopted by the university and it will be ensured unless there exists a risk to others' health or safety, information will not be shared by the Title IX Office with the Honor Code Office regarding the complainant without taking his or her consent.
As this clause represents a policy change, there is a need to review by students, administrative and faculty advisory councils prior to it becoming university policy. It will be practiced, however, in the meantime.
Two BYU alumni who made their experiences public said they are predominantly happy with the changes which took place at the school. Students are required to give their consent to a code which prohibits sex prior to marriage. Alcohol and drugs are banned as well. Julie Valentine, professor of nursing, told the assembled media since there is an amnesty clause, the university will let the victims know, they are not to be blamed and the university will provide the needed support.
— Randy Paynter (@paynter) October 28, 2016
Several of other recommendations will also be implemented in the winter of 2016. The university wants to employ a Title IX full time position. It will replace the earlier part time post. The educational hub will also employ a confidential adviser or victim advocate. A physical space is also needed to house the new office as separation location from Honor Code office. This step comes at a time the federal government is exerting pressure to increase universities' responsibility to stop sexual violence.