Students at BYU are protesting their school's 'honor code' as sexist, homophobic and dangerous.

The youth are loved — and hated — for shaking things up.  

We put a unique twist on just about everything, from dating to employment. But one area in which we're rocking the boat the most lately is politics.  


As a generation, we are exceptionally vocal about things we don’t like. We live in active pursuit of fixing things older generations often tell us we can’t change.  

Many of us have been activists since birth. What's more, our spirit of change seems to be influencing the younger generations, like Generation Z who’ve been leading the wave of change on issues like gun reform.  

The rise in student and campus activism we’ve seen over the last decade makes that crystal clear.

Lately, even historically religious schools are seeing the impact.

Students at Brigham Young University — a school that is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and known for its strict code of conduct- are protesting their Honor Code.

In case you’re not well-versed in BYU student code of conduct, Here’s the short of it. The honor code is based on religious doctrine and provides guidelines on what behaviors are permitted.

The following is an excerpt from the conduct section of the code:

“Students must abstain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal substances and from the intentional misuse or abuse of any substance. Sexual misconduct; obscene or indecent conduct or expressions; disorderly or disruptive conduct; participation in gambling activities; involvement with pornographic, erotic, indecent, or offensive material; and any other conduct or action inconsistent with the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Honor Code is not permitted.”

It also presents more controversial guidelines about “homosexual behavior” and a host of dress code guidelines.

But it's not just an expected code of conduct, it's a heavily enforced set of expectations that can delay students graduation or even result in expulsion for what would typically be seen as minor infractions.

Last Friday over 300 BYU students chanted "God forgives me, why can't you?" At the Honor Code office (HCO).

They also shared stories of the ways the honor code has negatively impacted their lives. Among these concerns were mentions of how the code negatively impacts LGBTQ and victims of sexual assault.

Hashtags like #honorcodestories, #mercynotfear, and #RestoreHonor are being used on Twitter and Instagram as places for those impacted by the code to share their experiences.

It’s worth noting that the protest to the Honor Code aren’t a rejection of Church of Latter-Day Saints culture as a whole.

Protesters and the users who submit stories to their Instagram page, Honor Code Stories are adamant that they are seeking change out of their love for the church.

The students at BYU join Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Notre Dame, and other schools all over the country in being the latest example of student activist. The reoccurring statement being that youth are willing to stand up for what's right.

Hope for a better future is a key component of all youth activism. Instead of giving up on a system that has unfairly benefited certain groups and overlooked others, they’ve decided to fight for better treatment for all.  

Sure, there are plenty of folks who are resistant to these change makers' demands, and will continue to be resistant. But based on the youth protests of the past, that's likely to stop these young students.

The Honor Code protest is the latest of many that illustrate that millennials and Generation Z are committed to changing the world for better. And nothing, not resistance or even tradition, will stand in our way.    

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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