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True & False Rape Allegations at BYU

Last summer BYU came under scrutiny for how it handles rape allegations.  On the one hand you have some young women who reported that after they reported their rapes, BYU opened an Honor Code investigation against them.  This can lead to women fearing for retailiation and not reporting rapes for fear of getting in trouble themselves.  On the other hand, Dr. Darron Smith of the University of Memphis reports some situations of false rape allegations.  How does BYU handle these two complex and sensitive issues?  I asked him about some of these allegations last summer.

Darron:  If the Honor Code is punishing the young women for something that they had no control over, had nothing to do with, that’s horrible.  Again, it speaks to about the athletes.  You’re having people make subjective decisions about other people based upon their own lens, their own way of seeing the world which may not congeal with a young woman who has alleged rape.

On the other hand, he is aware of some false allegations too.

Darron:  You know when these young players in 2012?  In 2004?  Whatever, there was white college students at BYU who alleged they had been raped by these kids, these young players, and when it came down to it, they hadn’t been raped.  She made it up.  So these young guys went through it man.  I don’t know if you heard about the trial that went on down here in Provo where this young woman alleged rape?

GT:  I don’t know.

Darron:  But at any rate, to make a long story short, she was playing off racial fears, that are so deeply ingrained around again, black sexuality.  Praise God at the end of the day, truth came out.

The Salt Lake Tribune just came out with an article stating some women aren’t believed, and in one case of a BYU student, Madelaine McDonald, the police refused the press charges, but the young man had sexual assaults on three other women.  What do you think about these issues?


True & False Rape Allegations at BYU



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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