Regardless of the arguments, non-students will not be allowed to live in BYU-approved housing after September 1994, said Brigham Young University President Rex Lee at a meeting of the Student Advisory Council Thursday afternoon.

"If they're not students, they're not covered by this agreement," Lee said.The agreement he referred to is one reached with the Justice Department in 1978 that allows BYU to segregate its student body on the basis of sex. Utah Valley State College asked for and received inclusion in that agreement.

"The root of the problem is not BYU policy . . . but rather it is the requirements of federal law," Lee said.

But many people are upset that only students will be allowed to live in BYU-approved housing. Lisa Birkinshaw, a member of the council, asked if non-students who agree to live by BYU's standards could remain in approved housing.

Lee's answer to that and other hypotheses to allow non-students to live with students was a solid "no."

"For the short run, we have no alternative than to do what we're doing," he said.

Kimberly Francis, a student in the audience, urged Lee to ask the Justice Department to reword the 1978 agreement and allow non-students who choose to live by BYU standards to live in BYU housing. Lee said he feared such a request could result in losing the right to have any BYU-approved housing.

Lee said it is doubtful that the university would consider dropping its approval requirement and require all students to live on campus.

He added: "I think . . . the board of trustees would probably consider something like that" if the Justice Department agreement ever fell through.

View Comments

But for those who want to live in BYU-approved housing, there are several alternatives for qualifying as a student. Institute students at UVSC might qualify as students, Lee said, adding that those taking independent-study classes would classify as students.

The Justice Department's definition of student also includes anyone who has applied to BYU within the past year. Lee declined to comment on whether a non-student could apply each year for the purpose of remaining in BYU housing.

One student suggested the university require students to keep certain standards in off-campus housing as part of the honor code. That would eliminate housing affecting non-students, he said.

"I think it's easier to do it this way," rather than through the honor code, Lee said.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.