With the recent Q&A and the protests, I thought I would talk a little about the BYU Honor Code.

http://news.byu.edu/news/q-kevin-utt-director-byus-honor-code-office –today’s released Q&A.

There has been a great deal of discussion about enforced vs voluntary honor codes. With all the publicity you might wonder what is the administration afraid of that they don’t go for the easy public relations win. 

They believe that the proposed changes would lead to a massive upsurge in casual promiscuous sex that female participants would not consider fully consensual. 

Now you might wonder, how in God’s green earth did they get such an idea?  Simple. Observational economists have studied the issue. 

They started by studying the rates of casual promiscuous sex. Those go up dramatically at schools where there are more unmarried women than men. 

In those studies they also discovered that most of the women did not feel that the sex was fully consensual. 

The next thing they did was study sub-populations. In general, members of conservative religions are much less promiscuous. 

So they studied schools with strong honor codes that were religiously affiliated with conservative religions. 

Make/female imbalance resulted in the same dramatic change. The only places you don’t get the huge uptick in sex women perceive as not fully consensual is where you have honor code enforcement. 



1.  There may be another factor the statistics missed. 
2.  The issue of perceived non-consensual sex may not be as significant as college administrators believe it to be and may have an easy solution they have all missed. 
3.  Compared to freedom from an honor code, the other issues might really not be that important. 
4.  Anecdotal evidence might be more believable that multiple replicated statistical studies. 

What do you think?

Regardless, what changes would you suggest in honor code enforcement would you suggest.


A draft of this essay had significant discussion.

Past treatment of sexual assault victims would make some honor code employees accessories after the fact to rape in some states.

There are also additional ongoing changes to the office.

There were also these comments [read the Q&A to get a sense of the dynamic situation. Things have changed some in the past three years, and it appears there are more changes to come].

It may well be that the era of anonymous referrals is over, and other changes.

The Q&A comes at an interesting time.

link to national news on the protests: