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Todd Hendricks & BYUSA Elections

It should come as no surprise that BYUSA elections are a sham. The last three student administrations gained office by default, not the voice of the people.

What should surprise is the fallout from the most recent election. BYUSA officials responded to criticism from within by firing one of its rising stars--Todd Hendricks.

The Daily Universe published a semi-coherent Op-Ed piece decrying the stifling effect on free speech. Whistleblower rights are important, but there is more to it than that.

As part of his termination package, BYU promised to extend Hendricks insurance until the birth of his child in June. In exchange the agreement required that he keep quiet and write a retraction letter. Hendricks declined their offer deciding instead to stand by his original statement.

Hendricks didn't criticize the church or BYU at large. He simply gave articulate voice to the thoughts of any casual observer of BYUSA elections.

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There are these great T-shirts going around campus simply reading BYUSSR. Whether or not BYUSA really effects anything that pertains to the students at BYU that don't go to the dances or seek longer wight room hours. This seems pretty unjustified, At the least they should be expected to defend thier position and state exactly what other reasons contributed to Hendricks getting the boot.

If its not the letter then what is it?

P.S. There was a good editorial in today's Daily Universe paralelling what happened with Hendricks with a scene from "The Godfather"

Why does anyone care?

Utah is an at-will employment state. You don't have to have a reason to terminate someone.
Having said that, Hendricks went over his superior's heads and complained in a public forum about his employer. If I were his superior, I wouldn't be too pleased with it. Hendricks also admitted that he didn't like his job.
BYUSSR? GIve me a break here, folks. The guy would have gotten fired at any private institution; it's only because of BYU's religious affiliation that there is anybody even caring about his termination.
And yes, BYUSA is a sham. But I don't care. Why is this still news?

I think it's rather

I think it's rather disappointing. Because of at-will employment, it's totally legal, but I don't feel that it's ethical.

Rather than terminating Hendricks and attempting to keep him quiet with promises of continued benefits (bribery?), I'd rather see the Powers-that-be in BYU administration openly confront the issues raised by Hendricks and others, and reform BYUSA.

Let's think about BYUSA:

- Each of the last three elections has been determined by default, rather than a popular vote.

- Anonymity protects those on the elections committee from having to explain or take responsibility for their decisions.

- A BYUSA employee publicly calls for improvements to a clearly flawed system. He is terminated, and efforts are taken to keep him quiet about the whole ordeal.

- The election process is still flawed.

- How BYUSA actually represents the student body remains a mystery.

Good job, BYU.

I thought we had it bad

Over at UVSC we have our own useless student organization with its own elections problems. But it sounds like you kids over BYU have it much worse. You have my sympathies.

sick to my stomach

I have long supported and stood up for BYUSA and what it does. But that isn't the case anymore. Below is the letter I just mailed to the Daily Universe Editor.

I have devoted almost 2 years of my time at BYU to helping within the BYUSA organization. I have planned events that entertained as many as 2000 and as little as 50 people, and now I want all that time back. I gave my heart and soul (and saw my grades drop) because I really believed in what I was doing, and now I am not so sure anymore. When I first heard about the termination of Mr. Hendricks I felt literally ill. Todd Hendricks was an outstanding example to me. He didn't just care about what I was doing for his employers, he genuinely cared about me as a person and what was going on in my life. That BYUSA would act in such a careless and tyrannical manner in regards to a (justified) opinion disappoints and hurts me deeply. Many things do need to change in that office, and I applaud Mr. Hendricks for taking a stand. BYUSA has only further dug itself into a grand hole of skepticism and doubt concerning its capability and effectivness at this University. I am so ashamed.


Just FYI, apparently there's going to be a protest of BYUSA today in the quad at like 1:00.

I'm not sure this is one of those issues that really deserves a protest, but at the same time, I'm kind of glad to see BYU students protesting something.

innit grande?

byu is one of the few universities in the nation where the national anthem is played in the morning and evening and most people stop and stand at attention to view the raising/lowering of the flag. the iriony to this is that byu is also one of the few schools that does not actually stand for what the flag does (free speech, a "real honor code" -without spies-, freedom of press, religious freedom, etc). granted it is a private religious school it can do as it pleases, all the same, the irony exists.

Let's make it an annual "thinkafest"

Ok, sounds good, Trey. I'll get back to you next year about that.

Hendricks had to know he was

Hendricks had to know he was going to get canned. What did he hope to accomplish by publishing a letter in the Daily Puniverse, useless rag that it is? Did he think the readers of the school newspaper had any power over BYUSA? When you have only 5,000 students voting in the BYUSA elections at a 30,000 student school, it's pretty clear that most people couldn't care less.

As a BYUSA staff member, surely he would've been in a better position inside the organization to effect change than outside of it. And yes, he has a valid point, the elections are a broken system. But instead of trying to take constructive steps to fix it, he took a crap on his own doorstep by poking his boss in the eye with a sharp stick. You reap what you sow.

Hendricks took the blue pill

Seriously, I want to see Hendricks throwing molotov cocktails.

I didn't get a chance to see

I didn't get a chance to see the BYUSA protest. On the one hand, I'm glad that some BYU students are speaking out about something. I personally think it was lame that Hendricks got fired, and BYUSA is just a joke. But on the other hand, you rarely see any BYU students protesting big issues (I wouldn't think BYUSA's dysfunctionality counts as a "big issue"). Okay, a few months ago a few students protested the Iraq war during some ROTC thing. It wasn't well-attended or well-publicized.

I'd like to see some big protests about big issues. Come on, we're college students. But dissent is so unacceptable on this campus, I think that if I were to try to organize a big war protest or something, we'd just get dirty looks from people all day who think we're apostates. Nobody would take it seriously. Or the campus police would shut it down in 5 minutes.

Amazing ... I think we just

Amazing ... I think we just had ourselves an intelligent discussion here.

Maybe provo pulse is turning over a new leaf ... =)

Thanks for everyone's comments.

It may be true that he would

It may be true that he would have been fired at any private institution; that doesn't make it right or okay and doesn't mean he shouldn't or doesn't have the right to make a deal out of it.

His employer also had every right to fire him for publicly complaining about them. However, they have even said themselves that this isn't the reason they fired him, before giving that lame "he didn't like his job" excuse. Almost nobody likes their job. That isn't grounds for termination. If it was, who would ring you up at Wal-Mart?

Plus, I thinks its a little hypocritical for a Libertarian to say that others shouldn't care about something that doesn't matter. Just kidding.

"Jenkins' assertion that

"Jenkins' assertion that "there were certainly other issues involved" smacks of a smear campaign after the fact. Realizing how foolish the story would play in the press, she claimed there were other reasons justifying his termination. We wonder if this was Jenkins' spin or the creation of BYUSA officials."

That could easily get Jenkins deposition taken in a slander case. The entire thing makes me sad.

Especially realizing that it stems from someone being disqualified for "overspendng" when they did not overspend, merely went to a cheaper source.

I feel so sad about the entire thing.


If they protest, they'll all get arrested and then all their cars will be booted.

I would imagine that he

I would imagine that he brought up his concerns about the elections process last year, after the "broken curfew" fiasco. The administration didn't hear him, and so it happened again. 2 guys got kicked out who I knew personally and would have done an awesome job. All for not using the prices that Kinkos does (something that I know all of the other campaigns definitely did not do, in fact, I am not sure why all of the campaigns weren't investigated in this matter and a null point was reached). I think Hendricks got sick of how things happen the same way over and over year after year and so he thought that he would put his thoughts out to the general public to see what would happen. The Daily Universe may suck but EVERYONE reads the letters to the editor page (as well as the Police Beat). I think this was a last resort for him because he believed so much that this change could only bring about positive results.

i agree

and i think that is what made this protest an important thing. politics start local, so if we can get students involved in something small, i would hope it could start a snowball affect. i think it is a big step forward to gain permission to protest over a local controversial issue. i would hope that this would encourage people to be more outspoken in the future, perhaps over even bigger issues.

Police shutting things down?

I think it's doubtful admin is going to deny you a protest permit (or whatever the official name for such things is). If Soulforce-- a group promoting the legitimacy of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered behavior-- can get a permit to protest at BYU, then I should think nearly anyone who's not virulently anti-Mormon could.
And I wouldn't call dissent unacceptable here; I think people just tend to be apathetic. If I'm going to take time out of my day in order to effect a change in something, I'm going to find an issue that affects me personally and an action that will allow me to present a clear and cogent case, something that group protests do not typically do.

Just so you know

If indeed 5000 out of 30000 students voted in student elections you kids at BYU should be pretty proud. The national average for college student elections sits at less than 10 percent.

The Daily Universe isn't great, but I am impressed that they would even print Hendricks's letter. Combine this with that letter they printed about the grad student who couldn't go back to BYU because he had left the church and I think you have year in which The Daily Universe actually sparked discourse a couple of time...which is AMAZING! Funny that the Deseret Morning News didn't do a story on the campus protest while the Daily Herald's was pretty huge.

Nope, they have official

Nope, they have official permission from the Dean of Student Life to do it.


actually, the deseret morning news did have a story in the saturday paper. it wasn't front page, but it was on the front of Utah section.

Soulforce didn't actually get a permit did they?

Soulforce didn't actually get a permit did they? I was under the impression that they're just going to be showing up. I'm sure they've got some kind of permit for the Kawanis park thing though.


i stood in on if for about an hour. i would say there were at around 50 people there, with quite a few people taking pictures and video recording. hopefully it will cause some ripples to at least get some sort of dialogue going. while the grandparent questioned if it was worth protesting over, i think one of the signs saying "this isn't just about todd hendricks" was an answer to that.

No, they got one

Can't remember which of our esteemed newspapers I read it in (either the Herald or the Universe), but Soulforce did obtain the proper permits necessary to protest on BYU campus grounds. Give me a few minutes, I can probably get a link.


I'm sure there's enough irony for everybody to go around in the last line of this article.

Not on the web

My mistake...I only read the Des News online...and it was not featured on their website on Saturday, or any other day for that matter.

Was that really Dean Heperi

Was that really Dean Heperi in the Hawaiian shirt watching from just outside of the Wilk? A lot of people were telling me that.

Pat them on the head and then give them a cookie.

The reason why so many people at the BYU "protest" were taking pictures and video recording is the same reason why people take pictures of the 4th of July Parade. It's something cute and funny it happens only once a year.

Were there bull horns and shouting? What about drums and marching? Was there ANYBODY, I repeat ANYBODY wearing tie-dye? I doubt it. Probably a bunch of students got together all wide eyed and giddy as they thought, "Wow, so this is what it's like to think for yourself..."

Talking about a BYU protest is like talking about a man having his period. As much as he wants to believe that he's on the rag, it'll just never happen.

You're planning the next

You're planning the next one, then.

Real Protest

I never knew that there were criteria for a proper protest. I am especially surprised to find out that the criteria apparently includes smelly hippies. C'mon, tie-dye? Shouting? Bull horns? I thought you were the poster boy for civil discourse.

I was recently reading Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" essay. He makes the point that in order for civil disobedience to work, the government has to put an honest man in jail. If a man breaks an unjust law and goes to jail, and he has a reputation among the people as a completely honest man with impeccable character, the people will then realize that something is amiss, and will take steps for the unjust law to be abolished.

Now I know this isn't what Thoreau was talking about, but I immediately thought of all the war protesters I've seen in recent history with their "Buck Fush" and "Bush = Hitler" signs, tie-dye, shouting, bull horns, flag-burning, etc. Do they make me think "Hey, maybe there is something amiss with the government." No, it makes me think the fire department ought to get the hose out and give them all a much-needed bath.

I think protests are over-rated.