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How BYU Could Improve the Honor Code for Black Students

In this episode, we’re going to talk about expulsion rates. Did you know that of these expelled, 80% are black, despite the fact that just 9% of the student body is black?  It seems like that’s a pretty wide disparity. A lot of this has to do with the Honor Code.  Are there things that the church could do, especially with non-LDS athletes that will help them with the Honor Code?  Dr. Darron Smith of the University of Memphis offers some advice.

It goes back to the fact that these young men are not Mormon.  They don’t have the same—they don’t know the rules.  They don’t understand the rules.  They don’t understand the Honor Code is not just a code, it’s theology.  It’s Mormon theology in a code.  The Honor Code for Mormon students is kind of like, yeah I do it already.  They don’t have to think about that, most Mormon students don’t.  But black students, they don’t have that.  They already come primed.

There’s [Reverend] France Davis in Salt Lake.  France, Pastor Davis is tied in with a lot of different communities.  He could even probably dispatch someone to Provo if need be to serve as sort of an ombudsman for these young men and players if they run afoul of the Honor Code system.

What do you think of his suggestions?

Improving the Honor Code for Black Students at BYU

 

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Comparing BYU’s Black Graduation Rates

Many college athletes, especially black athletes, are unprepared for college.  In this episode, we’ll talk to Dr Darron Smith of the University of Memphis to see how BYU’s graduation rate for black students compares to other colleges.  I think the answer may surprise you.  Dr. Smith says,

Vanderbilt has a very high GSR score, the Graduation Student Record.  So basically when a student graduates from college, the university guarantees a student will graduate within a six year period after they have finished their years of eligibility.  In this situation the students there have a much higher GSR, they graduate because the mission of Vanderbilt is education, not football.  It’s why they don’t do very well.  Occasionally they’ll do ok in basketball.  Occasionally you have a fluke year where they’ll have a decent team.  Generally Vanderbilt, when I was there in Nashville as a youth, they never did well because that wasn’t their mission.  Their mission was education.

….

[BYU has] The lowest [black graduation rate] in the state?  I was surprised to see that, very surprised to see that.  The data, all of that data, plus the GSR scores, the story is becoming clearer.

Check out the video, audio, or transcripts.

Black Graduation Rates at BYU

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Disparities in Black/White Discipline

Many athletes run afoul of the law, and in BYU’s case, a much stricter Honor Code than at other schools.  Some schools are too lenient, some are too strong.  How does BYU compare, especially among black athletes?  Dr. Darron Smith of the University of Memphis shares his thoughts on a white player at Duke University, Grayson Allen, and a black player at BYU, Brandon Davies:

I think Coach K is trying to win basketball games.  He’s not interested in the moral underpinnings of decisions like the BYU thing, but he’s trying to win ballgames.

While many have criticized Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski for his lenient treatment of Allen, BYU was praised by national sports commentator Jim Rome, who was impressed with BYU’s decision to suspend Brandon Davies from the basketball team, despite BYU’s great season and run into the NCAA basketball tournament.  But Smith didn’t agree with Rome’s assessment.

I don’t think Jim Rome understands the context.  I don’t think he understands.  He is just looking at an incident, an isolated incident.  He doesn’t understand the deeper meaning behind it.  It was spoken out of context.  It was spoken foolishly without understanding the particulars behind this.

Brandon was treated differently than most players, in that he wasn’t kicked off entirely like other players who were non-Mormon were.  He got that courtesy extended to him, but the way he was paraded around and made the scapegoat and to me I know that had an effect on him, to be the whipping boy because there’s already a stigma around black people and sex.  Now he’s the poster boy for inappropriate sexual relations as a Mormon.  I know he’s carrying that stigma.

What do you think?  Is Duke too lenient?  Is BYU too strict?  Are both schools deserving of praise or criticism?

Check out our video below, audio above, or transcript here.

Disparities in Black & White Discipline