Last month, FreeBYU sent a formal complaint to the NWCCU, BYU’s accreditor. Among other things, we highlighted the fact that BYU bishops have full authority to have a student expelled for any reason without chance for appeal to the University. This violates the NWCCU’s governance standard that requires that
Policies and procedures regarding students’ rights and responsibilities—including academic honesty, appeals, grievances, and accommodations for persons with disabilities—are clearly stated, readily available, and administered in a fair and consistent manner.
Because bishops have unilateral ability to expel a student for any reason, and because students cannot know before hand what their bishops will consider an expulsion-worthy offense, BYU’s policy is not “clearly stated, readily available,” or “administered in a fair and consistent manner.”
Yesterday, The Daily Beast published an article that covered the religious conditions at BYU in detail (check it out here when you get a chance). In the article, BYU’s Carrie Jenkins confirms that bishops have individual power to decide what does and does not violate the honor code:
The bishops are asked to apply the same standards of the Honor Code,” she wrote. “Given they are ecclesiastical leaders to individual members of their congregations, they also have discretion to make ecclesiastical determinations in individual cases.
While we’ve certainly seen enough to know that bishops can have students expelled for inconsistent reasons, it is good to have an official at BYU confirm that this is indeed the case.