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Byu Honor Code Essay Contest House

Church Educational System Honor Code

9 November 2015

Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and LDS Business College exist to provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere is created and preserved through commitment to conduct that reflects those ideals and principles. Members of the faculty, administration, staff, and student body at BYU, BYU-H, BYU-I, and LDSBC are selected and retained from among individuals who voluntarily live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Observance of such is a specific condition of employment and admission. Those individuals who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also expected to maintain the same standards of conduct, except church attendance. All who represent BYU, BYU-H, BYU-I, and LDSBC are to maintain the highest standards of honor, integrity, morality, and consideration of others in personal behavior. By accepting appointment on the faculty, continuing in employment, or continuing class enrollment, individuals evidence their commitment to observe the Honor Code standards approved by the Board of Trustees "at all times and…in all places" (Mosiah 18:9).


Honor Code Statement

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men....If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. (Thirteenth Article of Faith.)

As a matter of personal commitment, the faculty, administration, staff, and students of Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, BYU-I, and LDS Business College seek to demonstrate in daily living on and off-campus those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will:

  • Be honest
  • Live a chaste and virtuous life
  • Obey the law and all campus policies
  • Use clean language
  • Respect others
  • Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
  • Participate regularly in church services
  • Observe Dress and Grooming Standards
  • Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

Specific policies embodied in the Honor Code include (1) the Academic Honesty Policy, (2) the Dress and Grooming Standards, (3) the Residential Living Standards, and (4) the Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement Requirement. (Refer to institutional policies for more detailed information.)


Good Honor Code Standing

Students must be in good Honor Code standing to be admitted to, continue enrollment at, and graduate from BYU. The term "good Honor Code standing" means that a student's conduct is consistent with the Honor Code and the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Excommunication, disfellowshipment, or disaffiliation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints automatically results in the loss of good Honor Code standing. Further, a student is not in good Honor Code standing if his or her ecclesiastical endorsement has either lapsed or has been withdrawn, or if the Honor Code Office has placed a "hold" on the student's records.

All students, upon admission to BYU, are required to observe the standards of the Honor Code at all times, whether on or off campus. When the Honor Code Office receives reports of misconduct prior to a prospective student's admission or readmission, those reports are referred to the Admissions Office for appropriate action. When the Honor Code Office receives reports of student misconduct after admission or readmission, but before registration for classes, the Honor Code Office typically notifies the student, indicating that a "hold" will be placed on the student's registration if the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Honor Code Office by a specified date. The Honor Code Office also reserves the right to place a "hold" on the record of any student based on reports of student misconduct prior to notifying the student.



All students are required to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Honor Code. In addition, students may not influence or seek to influence others to engage in behavior inconsistent with the Honor Code.

Students must abstain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal substances and from the intentional misuse or abuse of any substance. Sexual misconduct; obscene or indecent conduct or expressions; disorderly or disruptive conduct; participation in gambling activities; involvement with pornographic, erotic, indecent, or offensive material; and any other conduct or action inconsistent with the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Honor Code is not permitted.

Violations of the Honor Code may result in actions up to and including separation from the university.


Homosexual Behavior

Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.

One's stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.


Dress and Grooming Standards

The dress and grooming of both men and women should always be modest, neat, and clean, consistent with the dignity adherent to representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and any of its institutions of higher education.

Modesty and cleanliness are important values that reflect personal dignity and integrity, through which students, staff, and faculty represent the principles and standards of the Church. Members of the BYU community commit themselves to observe the following standards, which reflect the direction of the Board of Trustees and the Church publication For the Strength of Youth. The Dress and Grooming Standards are as follows:


A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, revealing, or form fitting. Shorts must be knee-length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles or colors, and trimmed above the collar, leaving the ear uncovered. Sideburns should not extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, moustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable. Earrings and other body piercing are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.


A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting. Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be knee-length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extremes in styles or colors. Excessive ear piercing (more than one per ear) and all other body piercing are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.


Residential Living Standards

As stated in the Honor Code, Brigham Young University is committed to providing a learning atmosphere consistent with the principles of the Church. The university is likewise committed to creating such an atmosphere for students residing on and off campus and between semesters. To achieve this, BYU has established living standards to help students learn some of the high ideals and principles of behavior expected at Brigham Young University. Therefore, the university requires students to adhere to the following applicable standards:


All single BYU undergraduate students who are not residing with their parents must live in university on-campus or university-contracted, sex-segregated housing unless specifically excused in writing by the Off-Campus Housing Office.

Visiting Hours

Helaman Halls

Visitors of the opposite sex are permitted in the lobbies but not in the bedroom area, except during an established open house, at which times room doors must remain open. Lobby visiting hours begin after 8:00 a.m. and extend until 12:00 midnight, Saturday through Thursday. On Friday night, lobby visiting hours extend until 1:30 a.m.

Heritage Halls

Visitors of the opposite sex are permitted in the lobbies and apartment kitchens but not in bedrooms or bathrooms. Lobby visiting hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight daily, Saturday through Thursday, and extend until 1:30 a.m. on Fridays. Apartment visiting hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight Saturday through Thursday and extend until 1:30 a.m. on Friday.

Off-Campus Visiting Hours, Wyview Park, and Foreign Language Student Residence

Visitors of the opposite sex are permitted in living rooms and kitchens but not in the bedrooms in off-campus living units, Wyview Park, and the Foreign Language Student Residence. The use of the bathroom areas by members of the opposite sex is not appropriate unless emergency or civility dictates otherwise, and then only if the safety, privacy, and sensitivity of other residents are not jeopardized. Visiting hours may begin after 9:00 a.m. and extend until 12:00 midnight. Friday night visiting hours may extend until 1:30 a.m. Landlords may establish a shorter visiting period if proper notice is given to students.


All guests of students must comply with the Residential Living Standards while on the premises of university-contracted housing. Students are expected to help their guests and other residents understand and fulfill their responsibility under the Residential Living Standards and the Honor Code. Approval forms must be submitted for all guest requests, and are available from hall advisors and area offices. Approved guests may stay a maximum of three nights.

Maintaining the Standards

Violations of these standards may be reported to the Honor Code Office, 4440 WSC, (801) 422-2847, or the Off-Campus Housing Office, (801) 422-1513.


Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement

Students are required to be in good Honor Code standing to be admitted to, continue enrollment at, and graduate from BYU. In conjunction with this requirement, all enrolled continuing undergraduate, graduate, intern, and Study Abroad students are required to obtain a Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement for each new academic year. Students must have their endorsements completed, turned in, and processed by the Honor Code Office before they can register for fall semester or any semester thereafter. To avoid registration delays, endorsement should be submitted to the Honor Code Office by March 15. Those applying to BYU should use the new-student Admissions Application Part 3 endorsement and submit to Admissions, D-155 ASB.

LDS students may be endorsed only by the bishop of the ward (1) in which they live and (2) that holds their current Church membership record.

Non-LDS students are to be endorsed by (1) the local ecclesiastical leader if the student is an active member of the congregation, (2) the bishop of the LDS ward in which they currently reside, or (3) the nondenominational BYU chaplain.

Former LDS students are not eligible to receive an ecclesiastical endorsement (See Withdrawn or Denied Ecclesiastical Endorsement below).


Whether on or off campus or between semesters, all students are expected to abide by the Honor Code, which includes (1) the Academic Honesty Policy, (2) the Dress and Grooming Standards, and (3) the applicable Residential Living Standards. Students are required to be in good Honor Code standing to graduate.

LDS students must fulfill their duty in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attend Church meetings, and abide by the rules and standards of the Church on and off campus.

Students who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also expected to maintain the same standards of conduct. They are encouraged to participate in services of their preferred religion. All students must be in good Honor Code standing to graduate, to receive a diploma, and to have the degree posted.


Withdrawn or Denied Ecclesiastical Endorsement

An ecclesiastical leader may withdraw a student's endorsement at any time or may decline to endorse a continuing student if the leader determines that the student is no longer eligible for the endorsement. If an endorsement is withdrawn or if a Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement is denied, no confessional information is exchanged without authorization from the student. The withdrawal of a student’s ecclesiastical endorsement automatically results in the loss of good Honor Code standing. Students who are not in good Honor Code standing must discontinue enrollment. Also, they are not eligible for graduation, even if they have otherwise completed all necessary coursework. Excommunication, disfellowshipment, or disaffiliation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints automatically results in the withdrawal of the student's ecclesiastical endorsement and the loss of good Honor Code standing. Disaffiliation is defined for purposes of this policy as removal of an individual's name from the official records of the Church.

The decision to withdraw an ecclesiastical endorsement or to deny a Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement may be appealed through appropriate ecclesiastical leaders only. As a matter of practice, BYU does not intervene in ecclesiastical matters or endorsements. However, a student may petition the Dean of Students Office to allow an exception to the ecclesiastical endorsement requirement. As part of the petition, the student must (i) complete an Application for Exception to Policy (this form may be obtained from the Dean of Students Office); (ii) prepare a written statement outlining the reasons why the university should allow an exception; and (iii) within five business days of receiving notice that the ecclesiastical endorsement has been withdrawn or that a Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement has been denied, submit the completed application and relevant statements to the Dean of Students Office for consideration.

When considering the petition, the dean of students will determine whether the student has observed and continues to observe the standards of the Honor Code or has demonstrated other sufficiently compelling grounds to warrant an exception to the university's ecclesiastical endorsement requirement. The dean of students will not review the ecclesiastical leader’s decision to withdraw or deny endorsement or the process for reaching that decision. The dean of students and other university officials will not discuss confidential matters with the student's present or former ecclesiastical leaders unless the student voluntarily signs a release allowing that communication. The dean of students may also choose to personally interview the student, who may further explain the circumstances which might justify an exception to the ecclesiastical endorsement requirement. The student bears the burden of persuasion that he or she should be considered to be in good Honor Code standing, notwithstanding the lack of an ecclesiastical endorsement. The dean of students' decision regarding the petition will be reviewed by the vice president of student life if requested by the student. The decision by the vice president of student life is final.

The Admission Policy provides a separate Application for Exception process for applicants who cannot obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement in support of their application for admission to the university.

Rules and Criteria

Every January past Writing 150 students have the opportunity to participate in an annual Writing 150 Writing Contest. This is a cash award contest with the following prizes: $300/1st, $200/2nd, $150/3rd in each of the four categories. Each student may win up to a total of two prizes overall. Winning entries are published online and possibly in some other format by the college. The four categories are as follows: 

Category One: Personal Narrative/Essay

Personal Narrative

Definition and Purpose:

"A personal narrative is an autobiographical story about a specific incident or series of related incidents in a writer's life which show conflict and eventual growth in the writer's character. Narratives serve many vital functions in society. For example, narratives maintain community and culture, helping people understand beliefs. Narratives can also create new communities or enlarge the scope of a current community" (Hatch and Van Valhenburgh 16). 


Because personal narrative is defined as an "autobiographical story," the writer of this genre should employ story-telling techniques. These techniques include the effective blending of summary and scene, dialogue, imagery (appealing to the five senses), characterization, the evocation of setting in order to advance character and plot, and the use of active verbs and nouns in favor of the typically less effective stacking of adjectives. Structure and focus are important in the personal narrative just as they are in any piece of writing. A story need not be told in chronological order. The structure of story, however, typically includes conflict, rising action, crisis, and resolution. 

Personal Essay:

Definition and Purpose:

A personal essay is defined as an anecdote or anecdotes taken from one's life and connected to an idea. For example, in Thomas Plummer's "Diagnosing and Treating the Ophelia Syndrome," his idea is that students should take responsibility for their own education and thought processes and not wait for someone else to tell them what to think. To evidence the validity of this idea, Plummer draws on experiences from his own life as well as examples from literature and popular culture. Plummer's essay is very much idea-driven; however, the idea in a personal essay does not need to be as overt as Plummer's. It can be more subtle and open to interpretation. As Philip Lopate says in "What Happened to the Personal Essay?": "While it is true that historically the essay is related to rhetoric, it in fact seeks to persuade more by the delights of literary style than anything else" (301).


As with the personal narrative, the personal essay should be written using effective story-telling techniques. However, because a personal essay may be more idea-driven than image- or story- driven, these devices may be less prevalent than in the personal narrative. Structure is paramount in the personal essay. The writer of the personal essay has the challenge to, without heavy-handed moralizing, impose meaning on the seemingly random and sometimes chaotic events of his or her life. Hence, the reader of the personal essay needs to be pointed in the correct direction by the writer-he or she needs some sort of "road map" so that it is clear where the essay is going and why it is important to read it. Typical structures for the personal essay might include comparison/contrast, cause and effect, definition and process.

Category Two: Analysis

Definition and Purpose:

An analysis paper provides an opportunity for students to exhibit the critical thinking skills Lisa Nielson Thomas describes, “Analysis is the interpretation of the world’s texts. It is finding out what a text says and how it says it . . . taking it apart and studying it, then coming to a well-founded conclusion.” Whether students examine persuasive elements of rhetoric in a political speech, language and tone of a literary text, or use of medium and elements of genre in a work of art, they are examining a text and presenting their well-supported claims in their thesis-driven analysis papers. This category allows for a broad range of texts, including but not limited to the categories of art, theater, music and dance, literature, film, and science. Students may include (under separate headings, if desired) a historical contextualization of the text and a discussion of the significance of the text in their own lives.


An analysis paper should be organized by a strong thesis and supported by evidence from the text. The analysis category includes textual or rhetorical analysis. The student should assume that the judges are familiar with the work and not include a significant amount of summary, although a short synopsis at the beginning of the paper is fine. It is not necessary to include a copy of the text analyzed. Secondary sources should be cited according to the guidelines of a style such as MLA.

Category Three: Research Paper

Definition and Purpose:
Research-driven writing with a persuasive thesis. Research writing is a way of creating new knowledge, of entering the academic conversation, responding to scholars one finds in one's research and voicing one's own position on issues. The research paper helps students understand how to synthesize information and the points of view of several different authors, subordinating these voices and arguments to the students' own voice, using them to support a unique paper. It also aids students in understanding and using the conventions of academic research writing.


A research paper should have an effective title, an introduction, a focused, arguable thesis based in good rhetorical practice, a body that supports the thesis with support from research material, and parenthetical citations in MLA or APA format within the text. An "arguable thesis" is one which creates an argument-that is, one which does not necessarily contain a proposed solution to a problem or a call to action (although these are also acceptable) but is a statement reflecting a topic that invites attention, discussion, and creates new knowledge. The support from research material should be integrated in such a way that it is clear where the sources start and end.

Category Four: Opinion Editorial

Definition and Purpose:

Members of a community, such as a nation, city, or school district, must communicate with each other in order to do their business, whether it’s campaigning for political office or discussing a zoning issue, and many of these discussions take place in newspapers, in letters to the editor and opinion editorials, or op-ed columns. These venues provide citizens an outlet for expressing their points of view on issues of civic concern; they also represent places people can go to learn what others think about a variety of issues. While letters to the editor tend to be quite brief, opinion editorials are longer, more fully developed arguments on issues of immediate concern and interest to particular people or groups and can range from the seemingly trivial—are public displays of affection a breach of etiquette?—to the more consequential—what should the U.S. do to secure its borders? In short, opinion editorials are not just stated opinions, but carefully reasoned arguments.


Opinion editorials usually include a catchy title, an introduction that identifies the issue and author’s position, and several body paragraphs that provide reasons, evidence, and explanations for the position the author has taken. The style of writing can range from the conversational, even chatty, to the more formal feel of an academic argument. The important thing is that an opinion on a topical issues is asserted and ultimately supported, perhaps even anticipating and responding to counter arguments.

Contest rules:


Winter semester students: May 1
Spring/Summer students: August 23
Fall semester students: January 10

To submit a paper click here. Fill out the form, including your instructor's email address. Completely remove all references to your name and your teacher's name from the paper. Attach the paper as a PDF; the site will only accept PDFs. All entries must be submitted by the relevant date and must be submitted into the correct semester and year or they will not be judged. Submissions will not be returned.    

Note: The judges of the Writing 150 Writing Contest reserve the right to withhold any of the category prizes if no entry merits a particular award.

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