[Editors Note: Because this BYU student faces dismissal from the University for changing his beliefs, his name has been changed for this story]
Do you believe that BYU gives full academic freedom to its students and/or faculty, as described in Section 2.A.28 of the NWCCU’s Accreditation Standards? Why or why not?
No, I do not believe BYU gives full academic freedom to its students and/or faculty. Part of coming to a university is to explore your own mind and open up avenues of thought that were previously closed. It is also a place to challenge what you believe in. With religion holding such a huge part in a person’s life it is easy to see how frightening a crisis of faith could be to someone. Not being able to openly share and discuss questions and doubts about one’s religion here at BYU without threat of expulsion is an extremely dangerous situation for one to be in. It is not fair to immediately revoke student status for someone who goes through a transition of faith, especially if they would like to stay here. Non-LDS students, however few, are in existence here at BYU and are granted exceptions for things such as religion courses that other LDS students must complete. However, if one transitions from the LDS faith to something else and would like to reapply as a non-LDS student, they come to find that this is impossible.
Do you have a personal experience or story concerning academic freedom at BYU? If so, please elaborate here.
I have known many that have gone through faith crises here at BYU and for a multitude of reasons can not transfer elsewhere, however much they might want to. To be stuck here in this bubble trying to pretend to believe in something you don’t is not healthy for your mind.