Brigham Young University has adjusted its policies for students who leave LDS Church during their studies.
Brigham Young University (BYU) has loosened its honor code to make it easier for students petitioning to remain on campus after leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Students do not need to be Mormon to attend BYU, but if they enter the school as a Latter-day Saint, they must remain devout and obtain endorsements from their faith leaders each year, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.
BYU, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), must now get the permission of students to talk to church leaders about their individual faith circumstances.
Further, students no longer have to prove “unusual circumstances” when applying for exceptions to the endorsement from their faith leaders. Now they only need to give the dean a “compelling” reason that they deserve an exception. This would appear to be a smaller hurdle to hop.
BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins explained the Provo, Utah university’s reasoning. “We made this adjustment because we thought it was fair.”
She went on to note that these are tiny changes to a process that has been around for a long time, and one that was more of a zero-tolerance policy for those abandoning the faith. “What we are saying is that students can submit a petition that will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”
Another change, dating back to March of 2015, allows ex-Mormons or others without the previously requisite faith endorsements to apply to attend BYU through a similar application.
BYU relaxes policy for students who petition to stay but don't want 2go2 church. Yay!!! Allows everyone 2be real. https://t.co/fQdwquPOrX
— Josh James (@joshjames) August 19, 2016
The difference between Mormon and non-Mormon students at the university goes beyond the faith commitment. The non-Mormon students pay two times more tuition than a Mormon student ($10,600 versus $5,300 during the last school year) for tuition.
These changes come in the wake of a formal complaint lodged by FreeBYU with the American Bar Association. FreeBYU is a group of alumni who call for BYU to allow students who leave the Mormon faith to remain in school if they pay the fee that other non-Mormon students do. The complaint stated that BYU violates federal nondiscrimination law and threatens intellectual freedom by expelling students who break the Honor Code by leaving the church or living in same-sex relationships.