@BYU: Fear and Change

So a funny thing happened over the past 24 hours or so. In this post we invited people to answer the question: "What would you like to have changed at BYU?"

The response was... lackluster. One great response and then total inactivity. It appeared as though nobody even read the thing.

Our Google Analytics doesn't lie though. People read the post; we know. We're sneaky like that.

So what's the deal? Why so many views and so little response? How confusing! A conundrum! And then a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, put it very honestly:

Because President Monson is actually the official head of BYU, people are kind of passive about change because they feel like they're challenging the prophet. Every major change that goes on at the Y goes across the desk of the General Authorities. Point is, our fees are highly subsidized by tithing, SO, things that go on at the school and are condoned by the school MUST be in accordance with the General Authorities.

Now, with this in mind: If you have a concern about BYU that you would like changed, be it housing, honor code stuff, xenophobia, the bookstore, BYUSA, UTA bus passes, etc., please post a comment below.

OR, if you aren't comfortable with your name out there all willy-nilly, please email us at barebonesmagazine[at]gmail[dot]com. We'll post your emails as anonymous concerns, and keep your names and personal information locked up tight.

Our hope and goal here is to get a sense of what people on campus need and want. We would like to be a place for you to discuss your thoughts civilly and honestly with one another. There is no place on campus for us to do this. We'd like to change that.

Join us in encouraging openness and fostering a community at BYU.


26 comments:

Daxson said...

That is actually pretty interesting. I personally didn't leave a comment because I felt that it would be a little redundant--I feel strongly about the RIDICULOUS bus pass situation, but that has already been discussed. Everybody always complains about BYUSA but what can we change about it? I don't really care much about the beard rule--maybe I'm just jealous that I can't grow facial hair, but I think it's silly and people make a big deal out of it. Mainly I think the things to complain about have already been complained about.

However. There is one thing that bothers me about BYU, but it has nothing to do with policies, institutions, or clubs--it deals mainly with the ignorance (sometimes purposeful ignorance, a.k.a. stupidity) of many students when it comes to politics, social differences, and even religion of people who live differently or in other areas of the world. People don't have an opinion about things because they don't want to deal with it. It's uncomfortable to consider how a minority (racial, social, political or otherwise) feels. A commonly stated reason for why many students choose to come to BYU is "to be around people with my same standards." This is great but dangerous. You can't run away from the world. Not all Mormons are conservative white returned-missionaries.

So what do we do about that? Sorry, but some people just aren't going to ever want to branch out. Some people genuinely think that democrats are sinners. Some people are homophobic or are even racist. And they'll deny it of course, but they won't make any effort to learn more or love more. It's actually kind of frustrating.

Sorry for ranting.

sara said...

Ouch. Anyway the reason I didn't respond to the post before is because I don't exactly have very much to offer on any of these things. I go to class and then I go home. But I will post for you.

The bus pass thing sucks. I think lots of people are in consensus that it sucks. I have heard much talk about people doing things to alleviate the suckage, and hope for the sake of the physically-disabled students and those who live far from campus that the bus passes will not be done away with.

I don't know what a research institute for women is or what it would do.

While some people CAN look clean and proper with facial hair, a lot of people in all honestly look pretty sloppy and I wouldn't want BYU to change its policies on that.

I think it is unrealistic to hope that BYU would ever have any sort of gay rights/ clubs, because so many church leaders&members are adamantly against homosexuality.

My friends and I all agree that an escalator should replace the steps by the RB.
I also hate self-graded tests/classes. I don't know if other universities do that, but it is absolutely the worst thing.
I would like a shock collar implementation. For all the people who can't stop making jokes about marriage. Please make it stop, they aren't funny

sam_theman said...

My name is Sam and i am and addicted longboarder. I hate that I always choose to drive to school instead of ride my board because i just cant handle the last 10 min of the journey carrying my transportation. I would personally set up a workable set of guidelines and rules to govern boarding on campus. I really think this is the worst part of BYU for me personally.

Of course i also think we should all be a little more vengeful and mean when it comes to football. Please let me talk some smack with out turning around with your judgmental eyes.

Natalie said...

I love you, Sara.

Daxson, I'm pretty sure this is the time to rant. No apologies needed. Especially since it was an intelligent rant.

Here's a thought. Since it's my job to give the bus passes at my desk, I've seen a pretty wide variety of people come to me and complain about the situation with passes. I know there is a significant source of people who want change.

So what's the problem?

The problem is: who in the world are you to do anything about it? Or at least that's the look of everything. I mean heck I'm not that girl laughing on the posters around campus. There's no cardboard cut out of me. No one knows my name. I am one white kid out of a sea of white kids with little to no power.

Right?

We're all swamped with classes. We've all got people to see and places to go on weekends. And let's face it: most of us are a tad intimidated by the cardboard cut outs. Nothing is going to change until people get the guts to reply to something like this. One vocal student in Provo looks like a psycho. 3,000 vocal students in Provo create an honest basis for improvement.

I've been asking people who come to me with concerns to call the numbers I've given them, send emails, talk to student leadership. I just hope they do. This isn't just about a bus pass.

sam_theman said...

OK double post time I just cant resist. One major problem I have about this school is a major sense of intolerance that is fostered, though not purposefully, through all of the pressure to be PERFECT at all times in all things and in all places. Posters on the walls that make you feel like you deserve capitol punishment for staying over late with friends, or downloading music from a file sharing website really bring me down. Perhaps I should just switch Universities, but i really like not having to worry about my roommates having all kinds of crazy drugs and sex in my house, and at the same time I dont want anyone to mind if I want to watch a movie with a girl at 2am or whenever i very well please. I throughly disapprove of the way people treat a man with a beard on campus. Just because I havent shaved in a week does not mean my next activity will be rape rape rape.

If i listen to "cocaine" or have friends who drink i promise im not evil. I am just trying to be true to the friends ive grown up with and look for the good in people who have different standards than me.

this disjointed double post is now over but im looking kinda scruffy so hide yo kids and hide yo wife and hide yo husband to cause im rapin ererybody out here.

Emily said...

I'm going to be completely honest here. I love reading this blog - it is highly entertaining and I agree with what is said here more than most of the time, including the last post about change at BYU. I had the tab open thinking of what I wanted to post as a comment, but I couldn't think of anything. Anything, that is, that seemed like it could be worth reading/ that made it seem like I was informed about things. Also, I am usually not very good at forming my thoughts and translating them to the written word.

Things that I would like to see changed at BYU (in my imperfect words and probably not very "smart" or "informed"):
- Bus passes. Ridiculous! I DID read a good letter to the editor on September 30 - it was by a Psychology professor and he mentioned that at other schools, parking passes were super expensive (ranging from about two to six hundred dollars) and that bus passes were only about twenty bucks (or free!). How has BYU not done this yet?! I don't understand, really. Bus passes are so good - good for students who don't have (or want) cars, good for the environment (there are TOO many one passenger cars and trucks in Provo), and good for other things too I'm sure.
- I have discussed (more times than I can remember) the honor code with my roommate and she has really good points. We are both from Virginia and agree that living the standards where no one else is really living them makes us feel good. Now, I guess you should live the standards anyway, BUT I think that it is more effective to live the standards when you CHOOSE to, instead of being FORCED to live by these standards (which I feel is what the Honor Code is trying to make us do).
Hope that made sense.
- Xenophobia and homophobia, really - It is so bizarre to me that the people who should be the most loving and accepting people on the Earth are so afraid of people different from themselves. Why do we let little things get in the way of much more important things like love and friendship and acceptance???
- Beards - seriously, what's the big deal?
- BYUSA - I agree with the commenter on the original post from yesterday or a couple of days ago. I don't see how they are really helping anyone (but freshman with their social lives).

Those are my thoughts. Hope I made sense.

Emily said...

Sam, oh my goodness, I just read your comment and I love the Antoine Dodson reference. Hilarious.

Kelsie Lynn said...

I just hate how everyone gives standing ovations for everything. EV-RY-THING. Just cause someone sang nice at a performance does not mean you need to freaking stand and clap your hands off. I dont think people get that a standing ovation is for EXEPTIONAL performances.
The only exeptional theatre I saw at BYU was Tartuffe. just sayin.
To make this a somewhat useful post I would say a cure to this might to be to just start picking good musicals/plays. Sometimes BYU does but most often they are (and especially the acting) is just a gloss of superficialness.

Also, just gonna put this out there.. I wish people would dress better. I know that that is a superficial want- but I mean come on America. Big white sneakers with daggy light denim jeans? Basketball shorts with big hoodies everyday girls? I want to kill myself.
WHERE IS FASHION IN UTAH? I don't come across it very often.

HAHA to Sam and being scruffy. hide yo kids dawgs. them men in beards are pedophiles!! (jokes. I want bearded and longer haired boys SO BAD)

Kelsie Lynn said...

Sorry, Also- I don't like the testing centre. I would prefer having tests in class (I think?) simply so that I don't accidentally miss them when I forget to get to the testing centre on time.

Also also- Provo is just too crowded. This not entirely a BYU issue but the south end of campus? what a rat house. Waaay too many people squished into it.

In saying that, at least living on the south side means you can go to the gas station on that corner next to campus plaza because they sell COKE. do they sell energy drinks too? I can't remember. When I go back in winter though, I am going to need energy drinks.

Bare Bones Magazine said...

Things that make me, the editor/intern/web denizen VERY happy: RESPONSES. Confirmation is so good! Knowing that it's not just two of us who are upset about the bus passes feels so good!

These are awesome comments and I love you all. Please continue to share your thoughts and opinions and never ever feel as though you have to apologize for a rant or relatively foamy-mouthed response. We love all of that.

Keep them coming. We'll have more articles about the bus pass situation, as well as relevant facts, figures, and plans for how to get it back at BYU. We can make it happen. Natalie, if you see all of these people on campus looking mopey about the bus passes, slip them some knowledge on where they can find us. I'm thinking large group of people should visit BYUSA in the foreseeable future to give them an estimate of all of those who are affected by this stupid decision.

Keep it up guys. This is awesome.

Candice said...

One thing at BYU I would like to see changed is the relationship between students and employees of the university. I think the students believe that the university employees are either incompetent or not working for them but against them. University employees may think that students are unappreciative of their work.

Basically there is a serious gap.

I don't have a solution. But I work with both group and know that both are trying to do their best. Students are just trying to survive. Employees are just trying to do their job. No one is out to get anyone. So chill.

Oh and I asked my roommates

one said she would make it 'flat'-as in no hills
and in California

crystal said...

Bus passes - I've never taken the UTA, but the prices of bus passes going up is only going to make the [already horrible] parking situation worse. If anything, I think BYU should charge for Y-lot parking and use that money towards subsidizing bus passes. That way only the people who absolutely need to drive will drive to school and everyone else can still have cheap public transportation.

homophobia - this school has a honour code and forces mormon beliefs on their students, yet many students are not very christian... Especially when it comes to homosexuals. They already have to deprive themselves of the love/satisfaction that they want, and on top of that they have to go to a school where many of their classmates and teachers hate them? Also, what is with Elder Packer's talk Sunday morning?

Also, Kelsie-lynn, I agree with your fashion comment. I wish people would dress better, but unfortunately we're in suburban west-cost United States. Fashion trends get here two years later than villages in China. Just saying..

sammi said...

I want more food options! As a vegetarian, things are limited, and the word of wisdom says "eat meat sparingly," but there's even meat on the salads!

The fact that everything shuts down for devotional is pretty annoying. Maybe they should occur less often?

And of course, there's BYUSA. Stop spending the tuition money I do pay on free hot dogs and pizza, and personal laundry. Why don't we use it to actually serve; send people to places to volunteer or use it to pay for care packages for those in need, etc.

Mike Youngberg said...

you've got to be kidding me, you erased my comment? and I thought BYU's censorship was bad, this is just ridiculous

Bare Bones Magazine said...

Mike, I didn't erase anything. Please repost, by all means!

Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesley said...

All this talk of change... the next step is what can we do?

I agree with most of the things brought up that need to be changed. I have a suggestion- if you care that much about it, DO SOMETHING!! Talk to a faculty member. They are approachable, I promise. They can direct you to who you should talk to and what you should do to get those changes made.

Some changes will never be made. They are put in place for a reason. For example, the honor code. We may not understand why it is the way it is, but personally I'm glad its there. Some men do not know how to dress and groom themselves, and they need the honor code (sorry for the guys who actually know what to do with facial hair). Some girls need to actually follow the honor code (stop wearing super sketchy clothing!).

My main concern- the whole homosexuality thing. Some of my best friends are gay, and yet I agree with the church's stance. I think the recent talks on the matter have been blown out of proportion and twisted (actually read the talks- you'll see what I'm saying). I am in the process of starting a Harry Potter Alliance chapter at BYU, and I have to go through BYUSA. The Harry Potter Alliance is a national organization that does a lot of good, but it also has some campaigns that BYU would be worried about. Since Dumbledore is gay, the HPA did a whole equal rights campaign a while back, and I'm sure thats not the end of it. So what does this mean for this club at BYU?

I'm thinking that the HPA chapter that is also sponsored by BYUSA will have to be neutral about the whole matter. I know that the members will have conflicting views on the issue, but in order to stay a functioning club, we can't go to either side. I am not happy with this because I don't want it to look like we are being ignorant. Do you guys think this is a good idea?

I wish that BYUSA would focus more on service and not entertainment. That is why I'm starting a club- to give people more opportunities to make a difference. And who knows; if the Harry Potter Alliance gets on BYUSA's good terms maybe we can do some campaigns to better the BYU community, and get some of those changes that everyone wants. I would definitely be for it.

Bare Bones Magazine said...

Lesley: We appreciate that sentiment about the next step.

Friday, Oct. 15 (two fridays from now), we will be having a movie night followed by a discussion about the UTA bus pass situation. Check our facebook (just search for Bare Bones Magazine) for more information or stay-tuned over the next few days.

We're looking to be a platform for student voices at BYU. Come with your opinion and we'll make sure you're heard.

sam_theman said...

You should invite a Daily Universe rep to come to the Bare Bones movie night. Maybe even a SLC tribune rep. Make it a big deal.

rich(elle) said...

I just might be tarred and feathered for this, but... I'm going to say it anyway.

Let's start with the fact that I am all about positive change. I remember ranting and raving to my boyfriend freshman year (poor kid) about on-campus accessibility for students in wheelchairs, especially since I myself was in that situation for a couple months. I also took issue with the fact that everything shuts down for devotionals, yet the Testing Center is open on General Conference Saturdays. I, too, have done my fair share of wondering about the extent to which the Honor Code should contain restrictions on non-Gospel standards like curfew.

HOWEVER. (And this is a big "HOWEVER.") It kills me that so many of the "We Want Change" people on campus are asking BYU to be something it simply cannot be. I was flabbergasted to read an earlier comment referencing Elder Packer's talk in the Sunday morning session of General Conference. We, of course, are entitled to opinions, and the Lord intends for us to grapple with issues and ask questions our whole lives--that's how Joseph Smith ended up in a grove of trees on that fateful day. But to question a talk given by a General Authority (aka: a prophet, seer, revelator, and Apostle of the Lord) as though it's just up for debate by an angry BYU student? That is not the way.

Although I occasionally take issue with calling it "the Lord's university," Brigham Young University is an institution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, it not only has the right, but the divine RESPONSIBILITY to put into practice the standards and truths of the restored Gospel as revealed by modern prophets (Pres. Packer being among them). If people have a problem with that, pick another university. No one is going to hell for choosing to attend college elsewhere. Those who come to BYU should come with the knowledge (and hopefully the gratitude) that we are daily being funded by tithe-payers of the Church and by the generous donations of Church members and other alumni all over the world. We are "a peculiar people," as it has been said, and that's how it should be. BYU needn't become worldly or be re-located to California. (If anywhere, it should be relocated to Michigan. Just sayin.)

With that in mind, I do the best I can to avoid criticizing the Honor Code, as all but about two or three of its policies are actually standards of the church as found in the For Strength of Youth pamphlet and elsewhere. I think it is far more productive to promote positive change in how we respond to our brothers and sisters (whether it's opinions about gay students, responding to needs around the world, becoming informed about other religions, etc.) than to try and antagonize the administration or, worse, arm-wrestle with revealed doctrine.

With that said, many of these changes start with YOU. And many of them won't necessarily happen in a meeting or with picketing posters. It definitely won't happen on an angry blog you decide to write. It will happen because you are a charitable, loving, Christ-like person who has a sphere of influence. We can no more mandate Christ-like love and behaviors than the Honor Code can "make" someone a good Latter-day Saint. It's an issue of the heart.

rich(elle) said...

In terms of specific changes to be enacted, I agree that the bus pass issue is a serious one that needs to be taken up. Many other universities have MUCH MORE expensive... well, everything, than BYU does. I don't think it would be outrageous to start charging students for parking. That would alleviate the space for people actually commuting/needing to drive for some reason as well as provide funds to subsidize cheap bus passes for commuters, the eco-friendly, and other students seeking to use public transit.

THAT is helpful. Calling everyone at BYU bigoted, racist, homophobic, etc. doesn't do an ounce of good.

The change I would like to see at BYU is a change in how we seek change. (That's a convoluted sentence, I know.) It's just that so often, it becomes a cage match with the administration, the students at BYU just trying to lead good lives, or occasionally even the leaders of our Church. Let's change that.

I'm not asking that you be silent. I'm not asking you to just forget what you believe and start blending in with all of the other BYU students. I think the Gospel does call for radical individuality, but it's the kind of uniqueness that can only be fulfilled when one is truly rooted in the standards and principles Christ established for His Church. That's not a restricting fact--it's freeing.

It does none of us any good to make broad generalizations about our fellow students; that is exhibiting the same kind of ignorance you all wish were different in regards to other groups. I agree. I think generalizing is one of the greatest both ethical and intellectual errors we can make in this life. So let's just simmer down... that girl whose eyes are blacked out in the poster happens to be a former roommate of mine, and one of the genuinely kindest, sweetest, most well-informed, and boldest women that I happen to know. She's an amazing Latter-day Saint.

Lest you all think that I have no reason for posting here, I would also like to include that I have manymanymany gay friends, including a brother of mine. I have all the love in the world for them. But that doesn't have to translate into attacking Pres. Packer's talk, asking that the Honor Code be changed, whatever. Love can happen without pointing fingers and the change starts with you. Like, now.

redneckzilla said...

That's a great point Richelle. Also be apprised that the point of this blog isn't to slander or defame the administration or individuals. It's a place of dialogue. We are definitely committed to going about achieving change at BYU, even if it is only personal change, as we believe personal betterment comes before betterment of the whole.

In addition to that, it is very frustrating sometimes to attend BYU. Mainly because the ability to speak your mind is so often countered with a "Be humble" or "don't rock the boat" attitude. The question posed here is "what would you LIKE changed at BYU" not "what are we GOING to change at BYU". The opportunity to speak one's mind in an open and honest way, whether it's outrage over Boyd K. Packer's talk, social services at BYU, fashion, or beards, is rare. So much of complaining is therapy. Nobody will be eternally scarred for reading a complaint about the Honor Code. Civil and honest grievance-making is nothing to be ashamed of or feared and I see nobody here who has made any egregious personal attacks. That, indeed, would be counter intuitive.

That said: as nice as your roommate is, the organization she belongs to and is a representative of is in our opinion not serving the students at BYU. She may be a sweet girl, but BYUSA is very, very frustrating to work with and they, in no way, help me "belong more", whatever that means. This is not a personal attack. We are upset with BYUSA on a grand scale. And we intend to noisily and lovingly call them to account for ignoring the needs of so many on campus. I’d like a bus pass, not a foam slip-n-slide OR a free hamburger (I don’t eat meat and you offer no veggie options).

Daxson said...

To be fair, the foam slip-n-slide WAS pretty awesome... except that they made us sign a waiver, then they made everybody wear goggles and get in a single-file line, and there wasn't any free food as advertised. But other than that it was great.

As for President Packer's talk, that's up to you to decide. It was not very specific-- he did say some things about choice that some people get worked up about but it really depends on how you interpret it. All he said is what God has said- homosexual relations are a sin. Easy. That's what his talk about. So people can relax. As for same-sex attraction, that's a different topic, one that was not discussed during conference, but that has been discussed in detail by the church. The issue that WE can deal with is how we treat our brothers and sisters--be they gays or bigots or discontent students or strangers or disabled people-- and BYUSA can step up their game in supplying resources to do that. BYUSA volunteers are not to blame. They are great for volunteering and serving the university. But it doesn't seem to be serving the people who need the most service.

rich(elle) said...

Thanks, Daxson and redneckzilla (Alex, is that you?). I don't regret posting what I did, but afterward I realized that a lot of it was probably preaching to the choir. I didn't write it in response to any specific posts or comments of this blog (minus the Pres. Packer reference). I guess what I had to say was just as much a rant as anything else; it was something that I've been thinking about for a long time and needed to get off my chest.

It's definitely frustrating to feel like you have opinions, needs, beliefs, desires, etc. that are not shared by the public or being met by the groups with which you affiliate. I feel that all the time as a Latter-day Saint with a lot of "wayward" family members and an interesting personal history that gives me a different perspective than many. I always cringe to hear off-handed references made on campus that suggest the kind of ignorance that many of you are fed up with. Me too. If I hear one more "that's gay" by another sweet bro on campus... Right? All of us on here feel that way.

But I have a hard time figuring out how to translate that into change without the anger and antagonizing that always seem to characterize these campaigns against the status quo. Maybe that's something I can learn from you guys, because I've been relatively impressed with the respect that characterizes most of the comments here.

In terms of BYUSA, I've usually been pretty apathetic about it for probably a lot of the same reasons you are placing them under your scrutiny. However, if I had to come up with some kind of "defense" for how they handle things... my guess is that they are trying to take upon themselves the welfare of BYU students. Feeling paralyzed to do much else, they focus on helping everyone to "belong" via social activities. I'm sure you've noticed that food and socializing/mingling are pretty much the catch-all solutions around here, alleviating boredom and loneliness. Most of the BYUSA activities are heavily attended by freshmen (if "heavily attended" at all) and I agree that they often do not reflect the interests of the student body at large. But I don't think they are trying to be a joke; I think that the people interested in BYUSA tend to have ideas (albeit narrow ones) about what it means to "serve the students" and they act on those impulses. In that case, I couldn't agree more that awareness is key. We need to make our voices heard so that we actually can hold BYUSA accountable for its responsibilities to us.

Daxson, I appreciate your elaborating on the incredibly difficult nuances of the homosexuality issue. I always join the Brethren in what they say, as they speak for the Lord. However, there is a lot more ambiguity in what they are willing to say than a lot of people in a hot rage might believe. One of the most helpful talks on this issue was published in the Ensign a couple years ago--an article by Jeffrey R. Holland. In addition to providing some very loving counsel, he mostly says that the Church refrains from taking positions on nature/nurture, etc. for whatever reason. Perhaps the will of the Lord has simply not been revealed. It's most important that we work with what we know and that we find a healthy balance in standing up for marriage and family values while maintaining wide open hearts for our gay brothers and sisters. They need our love and respect. (Yet another fact the Brethren have demonstrated beautifully, as with their firm position to SLC housing authorities that homosexual citizens be given equal housing rights back in fall 2009, I believe.)

Again. Preaching to the choir. The summative point of this post is to say: Thank you for your patience with my own frustrations and opinions. I feel like I'm in good company.

crystal said...

I see there was a lot of discussion about my President Packer comment. But I think you misunderstood me..
I respect him as a prophet, seer, revelator, and Apostle of the Lord. I was at the airport picking up my parents on Sunday morning and didn't watch conference. I was literally asking what Pres. Packer's talk was about that caused such an uproar in the LDS gay community. But the talks are out now so I was able to read it for myself.

Kelsie Lynn said...

Richelle is the bomb.

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