Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah announced that university-owned portions of the famed Y Mountain are now officially off-limits for student protests and demonstrations.
Last year a group of LGBTQ+ BYU students lit up the Y in rainbow colors to call for greater acceptance on campus and calling out church teachings and rules regulating student behavior on campus. The new updated demonstration policy, announced earlier this week, bans such protests on Y Mountain in the future.
“Locations where demonstrations are prohibited, including any locations within university buildings, near places where minors and other vulnerable populations are present (such as the BYU preschool, summer youth camps or the Student Health Center) and locations where safety is at risk, including university-owned portions of Y Mountain,” the new policy reads.
“We’re here, and we’re part of this institution,” Bradley Talbot, the gay BYU student who organized the lighting of the Y, said last year of the colorful protest. “We should have a place at the Y.”
Talbot said he and the group Color the Campus chose March 4 for the date of their action as it was the first anniversary of the school’s clarification about the removal of language banning “homosexual behavior” from the student Honor Code. The school issued a statement clarifying that “same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.”
The Church Education System Honor Code requires students to “live a chaste and virtuous life, including abstaining from any sexual relations outside a marriage between a man and a woman.”
Students are also forbidden from taking part in on-campus demonstrations that “contradict or oppose, rather than analyze or discuss, fundamental Church doctrine or policy; deliberately attack or deride the Church or its general leaders; or violate the Church Educational System Honor Code because the expression is dishonest, illegal, unchaste, profane, or unduly disrespectful of others.”
The updated demonstration guidelines apply only to BYU students and employees. While students are expected to abide by the school’s Honor Code at all times, the updated guidelines only cover demonstrations that take place on campus.