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Students argue for abolishment of BYU-approved housing

from the hovels-we-call-homes dept.
Would we benefit if BYU's approved housing policy was abolished? These four guys think that we would, though I'm sure there are more where they came from. Their main argument is that by artificially limiting the amount of available student housing, BYU is actually forcing us to live in worse conditions than we otherwise would, not better, and they've got a point.

Artificially limiting the supply creates less competition among landlords, and this trend will only increase as the new two-mile radius rule goes into effect in a few years. For whatever reason, it's evident that Landlords find it more cost effective to provide run-down housing than the decent housing students deserve.

But instead of completely junking the current system, I'd like to see a major change in BYU's approach to it's housing approval process. What if instead of forcing students into substandard apartments the system actually forced apartments to higher standards? Wasn't that ... the original intent of BYU-approved housing anyway?

What if BYU actually required landlords to maintain nice facilities? You know, like without 20-year-old carpet, chronically running toilets, and heaters that never turn off but yet never heat either.

But how would they police the complexes? It's simple. Create a hotline so that students can report their complex for violating the approved housing requirements. Complexes could be put on some sort of probation if they had legitimate complaints by more than 10% of their units in a year. If it happened again the next year the complex would lose BYU approval for the next 3 years. Complaints could be verified by people from BYU's housing office.

BYU could also start publishing statistics about the number of complaints per occupied housing unit for each complex. This would give students a better feel for what complexes to move to. Complexes with few complaints could start charging higher rent due to their increasing popularity while complexes with lots of complaints would have to drop their prices to attract tenants.

Of course publishing the statistics would only have an impact if there was a surplus of housing relatively close to campus, so students aren't forced into poorly maintained complexes simply because there is no where else to live.

If a system like this was set up, do you think your complex would start taking maintenance seriously?

just an off topic thought.

This whole issue sparks an interest I have that is only semi-related. The whole idea of BYU approved housing is to help enforce the honor code, am I correct? It's the same reason that BYU has other stupid procedures, like blocking inappropriate websites, right? But what I find so stupid about the whole thing is that it is an HONOR code. Isn't the idea of "honor system" to follow the rules on your own, using integrity? How does making it impossible to break the rules support the definition of "honor code"? College students are adults and adults with free agency at that. Doesn't it bother anyone that BYU treats you all like little children? That they make it impossible for you to decide that you are going to follow the honor code because they don't let you have a choice to break it? I'm not a BYU student so I wouldn't know, but it sure seems like a stupid system to me...
About the housing issue, I say ditch the whole "approved housing" thing altogether and just have normal housing. So what if you live next door to a non-married couple that live together. You are all adults and this is the "real world". Living in a bubble during the most important years of your life isn't going to get you very far, infact it's probably just going to hinder you. It's time to break out of the bubble that you live in and face life! That's what real integrity is, a real HONOR system - standing up for what you believe in when the people around you are not.

oh yes, the honor code

This is such an interesting topic to me because I think the Honor Code can be the sole reason that people either like or dislike BYU. Linz you speak of living in a bubble and that we are adults and should be treated as so. I disagree with how strict BYU-Idaho is, and could never see myself going there, but as far as my life at BYU, as long as I am living the gospel and striving to feel the spirit I find that the Honor Code does not infringe on my personal choices. You speak as though you think the Honor Code prevents us from actually living, but I feel like I will look back on my college days with just as many fond memories as my friends who went to party schools will look back on theirs. I know plenty of people who have members of the opposite sex sleep over, who go out and party, all of those things that you seem to be saying that they cant do because they are here. If you want to find that kind of stuff you will, but do you really need it to feel happy? My personal opinion is that someday we will all be living in the celestial kingdom and living our lives pretty close to the standards that the honor code enforces. It couldn’t hurt to start practicing right now could it? Luckily we all have our free agency and if you don’t want to come and try out the BYU experience for yourself you can end up going wherever you like for school . Of course you might end up running the risk of ending up like my friend Cody who had the same opinion about BYU as you did, and all he did his Freshman year of college was go to parties and watch people puke , their guts out, and then be their Designated Driver. But hey, he wasn’t having to deal with that free agency restricting honor code right?

The honor code doesn't restrict your agency

You can get away with lots of things at BYU if you wanted to ...

Requiring people to live by certain standards to be able to attend your institution is hardly forcing them ... it's just saying, "Look, if you want to come here you must do X." Just like if you want to go to any university you have to maintain a minimum GPA or you'll get kicked out. Universities aren't forcing you to work in your classes ... they just won't let you continue attending if you don't.

About the whole "bubble" thing ... there are plenty of places you can go to live in the "real world" ... heck, I've spent about 20 years of my life there. I'm glad BYU is a bubble, and I don't see anything wrong with wanting to experience BYU's bubble. Yeah, once it's over I won't be sticking around, but I'm enjoying the experience while I'm here. Of course there are some tradeoffs ... things I miss about living in the real world, but it's worth experiencing.

What's bad is spending your whole life in a place like this, and being named something like "Moroni" ... and yeah ... you get the idea. People like that end up with a warped perspective on the world. It's almost like being Amish or something. But, going to BYU for 4 years will hardly turn you into one of those people. =)

blah blah blah

when i attended BYU, i seemed to always find myself hanging out with the folks who lashed out against the honor code. some were kicked out of school, a couple were even excommunicated for some of their activities. and yet i remained strong in the church, and loved my BYU experience. my point is, as jen and mason have said, no matter what the rules and no matter how strict the honor code, people who want to do bad things will find a way to do them. the biggest complaint these "friends" had was that the rules were too strict. and yet they demonstrated that no rule was too strict - you can always break them. the result was that they had to leave.

if you don't like the rules, leave.. there's a big world out there with lax rules just waiting for you to join them. but for those who want to surround themselves with like-minded people and live and learn in a healthy, religious environment, then there's no real issue with the honor code.

now, as for the housing, the basic premise of the program is to keep students free from some of the examples described above. would living in an apt next to an unmarried couple be a bad and unnecessary influence? you bet. why put yourself through temptation if you have a chance to live without it? there's so much else you have to worry about in your daily life without having something so blatant as that right next to you, slowly programming your mind to accept it and make it seem like no big deal.

but most BYU housing is junk. what needs to happen is BYU must become more vigilant in managing their approved housing to make sure it is well maintained. there should be an open discussion on campus so students understand the process, the rules for becoming approved housing, and how things should be changed. i don't feel the program should just be abolished, but it definitely needs to be investigated.

just to clarify..

I know that BYU is a private school and they can have these rules if they want to. But, if they want to call it an "Honor Code" then make it a real honor code. If not, then they really should call it "Enforced Rules That You Better Follow Or You're Going To Be Kicked Out". Lets call a Spade a Spade, okay?

For real

The idea of going to another university never appealed to me for exactly that reason ... I have better things to do than watch my friends get wasted all the time.