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Is Y. coed a saint or a sinner — like Dee?

SHARE Is Y. coed a saint or a sinner — like Dee?

I see where my alma mater, Brigham Young University, is brewing for another Honor Code showdown. A coed named Julie Stoffer from Wisconsin spent her recent vacation time living in uni-sex housing on MTV's "The Real World."


It is a sticky situation for the Honor Code Office because while Julie admits she did indeed live with a mixed group of individuals under the same roof in New Orleans for four months this past winter — a clear violation of BYU's sleeping standards — she insists she didn't have sex or engage in other inappropriate moral behavior.

Her behavior was so straight, she says, it will shock the TV world.

BYU now must decide whether Julie is a saint or a sinner — and it must do so in the six or so weeks remaining before fall classwork begins.

At least football coach LaVell Edwards is breathing easy. Finally, an Honor Code controversy that, no matter how it's resolved, won't affect his defensive backfield.

If you were Steve Baker, what would you do?

Steve is the director of the Honor Code Office at BYU. It is his job to adjudicate violations of a code that requires BYU students to be honest, chaste, obey the law, use clean language, respect others, abstain from harmful substances, dress modestly, go to church and encourage others to also do all of the above.

All that and pass college algebra, too.

Obviously, 100 percent observance of the Honor Code is a practical impossibility at any age, let alone 18 to 25.

Go strictly by the letter of the law and BYU's left with nothing but buildings and a whole lot of uneaten maple bars.

They could toss half the student body just for booing at basketball games.

The other half for not encouraging the people who booed to please not boo.

As for Baker, he says Julie Stoffer's case will be handled just like any other case that comes to the Honor Code Office. On a private and individual basis.

The facts and circumstances as they pertain to Julie's case will be carefully reviewed — which means somebody's got to watch MTV.

The BYU I knew was a little less scrutinizing.

When I went there, I don't remember even signing an Honor Code.

I do remember understanding that if I cheated on a test, I should turn myself in.

The only real run-in I had with anything involving expulsion was the winter of my junior year when I went to register for the new semester and they told me I couldn't until I paid off my outstanding parking tickets.

"I paid my parking tickets!" I protested.

The smiling woman behind the counter calmly looked up my records.

"No you haven't," she answered.

"Let me see that," I said.

They had put my brother's parking tickets on my record — an easy enough mistake, really. His name is Dee, mine is Lee.

I pointed this out to the clerk.

"Oh, I'm afraid you'll have to work that out with him," she said.

So I called my brother and explained the situation.

"Not my problem," he told me. "I'm already registered."

So I would like to turn in my brother for an Honor Code violation 25 years ago, on the grounds that he knowingly and I might add enthusiastically violated the "Consideration of others in personal behavior" section, which is clearly stated in the opening paragraph of the code.

Throw the book at him. Make it retroactive. Whatever you're going to do to Julie, do it to him, too. Only please double it. Thank you.

Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to benson@desnews.com and faxes to 801-237-2527.