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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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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