I find this story interesting although not completely surprising. Brigham Young University is located in Provo, Utah. It is, as might be expected, heavily influenced by the strict religious culture in the entire state of Utah. To attend the school a potential student must sign an “Honor Code” that among other things prohibits premarital sex. In the news is the suspension of basketball player Brandon Davies for violating that part of the Honor Code. The Chicago Bears’ Harvey Unga has come out and commented on the situation. Why? He has gone through the same thing.
Larry Mayer has posted an article at the Chicago Bears’ website titled “Bears running back Unga empathizes with BYU’s Davies.”
Harvey Unga was also suspended, however his suspension was from the football team and it was his senior year, which is the “showcase” year for college players, especially for Unga — he was BYU’s all-time leading rusher as a back. After his suspension, Unga and his girlfriend, Keilani Moeaki, who was suspended from the women’s basketball team, withdrew from Brigham Young.
The issue that Unga addresses brings up two points for us to ponder:
First, is the Honor Code something that should be allowed? Or perhaps more accurately put, we should ask, “Is the Honor Code Fair?”
Unga, who married his girlfriend and had a child, answers that question for us. As strict as the Honor Code is, students coming into Brigham Young know what they are signing. The Mormon faith plays a role in the school, and yes, the school is allowed to demand behavior in keeping with the Honor Code. If you sign the Code and then break it and it comes to light, you have no grounds to complain.
However, the second part of this issue isn’t quite so easy, and Unga ponders that as well.
Things worked out for Harvey Unga. He married his girlfriend and they had a baby. He also got drafted by the Chicago Bears and he looks to have a future with them.
What about Brandon Davies? He is a sophomore, which would make him around 20 years old. That Honor Code is a lot to ask of a young man, but more importantly is it fair that he gets the press that this suspension brings? It hits his career before it really has a chance to take off.
Having premarital sex isn’t good. It creates babies, causes poverty and spreads diseases, not to mention the breaking of various hearts. However it isn’t, as far as I know, a crime — if both are of age.
Brigham Young has the right to enforce their Honor Code, but don’t they have a responsibility to their students to keep this type of offense private?
What do you think?
Chicago Bears’ Website, Larry Mayer, “Bears running back Unga empathizes with BYU’s Davies”
BYU Website, “Honor Code Statement”