Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University campus

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, is under federal investigation for how LGBTQ students are disciplined

Jan. 21, 2022
The investigation will determine whether the university's actions violate the rights of LGBTQ students by disciplining them more harshly than heterosexual students.

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, is under federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for how it disciplines its LGBTQ students.

The department is determining whether the religious school is violating students' civil rights, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

The investigation concerns Title IX, the federal law that protects against discrimination on the basis of sex in schools.

The education department's Office of Civil Rights will examine whether such actions by BYU are allowable because it is a private school or if the school violates LGBTQ students’ rights by disciplining them more harshly than heterosexual peers.

The probe stems from a complaint filed in response to changes made to the university's Honor Code in spring 2020.

At the time, the university had removed a section from the rules that banned “homosexual behavior.” Some students celebrated, openly coming out as homosexual after, they said, school officials told them it was OK. But a few weeks later, the school clarified that same-sex partnerships would still be prohibited, even if the ban was no longer expressly written. 

Those who act against that instruction by holding hands or kissing, according to administrators, could continue to face discipline.

University spokesperson Carri Jenkins said that she believes the federal office will find BYU is properly exempt and within its rights to enforce the church’s policies against same-sex relationships.

“BYU is exempt from application of Title IX rules that conflict with the religious tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Jenkins said. “BYU does not anticipate any further action by OCR on this complaint.”

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