The other day as I walked across campus I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude for BYU. BYU is an amazing institution. It is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the nation – and is well known and respected around the world. Consider the following stats aggregated from College News and Ranking (and a few other places):
For 2010, the U.S. News & World Report ranked BYU as #71 in the country overall. The Princeton Review has ranked BYU the best value for college in 2007, and its library is consistently ranked in the nation’s top ten—#1 in 2004 and #4 in 2007. BYU is also ranked #19 in the U.S. News and World Report’s “Great Schools, Great Prices” lineup, and #12 in lowest student-incurred debt. Due in part to the school’s emphasis on undergraduate research, BYU is ranked #10 nationally for the number of students who go on to earn PhDs, #1 nationally for students who go on to dental school, #6 nationally for students who go on to law school, and #10 nationally for students who go on to medical school. BYU is designated as a research university with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2009, the university’s Marriott School of Management received a #5 ranking by BusinessWeek for its undergraduate programs, and its MBA program was ranked by several sources: #22 ranking by BusinessWeek, #16 by Forbes, and #29 by U.S. News & World Report. Among regional schools the program was ranked #1 by The Wall Street Journal’s most recent ranking (2007); and among business schools worldwide the MBA program was ranked #92 for 2009 by Financial Times. For 2009, the university’s School of Accountancy, which is housed within the Marriott School, received two #3 rankings for its undergraduate program—one by Public Accounting Report and the other by U.S. News & World Report. The same two reporting agencies also ranked the school’s MAcc program #3 and #8 in the nation, respectively.
Also, considering BYU’s average tuition is only: $4420 as of 2010 (side note: look at the image below and imagine “trying to stay out of debt” while having to pay an annual tuition of $30,000. I think that’s the reason BYU is ranked as the best valued college in the U.S.. Not only is it significantly less expensive, but it’s academics are top rated. Dare I say, BYU is more than the “best bang for the buck”). Considering this, we as a student body and faculty should express our gratitude for all the saints (and for the church as a whole) for the amount of money that is consecrated to allow us the great opportunity to be here. Hmm… so how do we do that?
As I continued my walk across campus while I was enjoying these sentiments of gratitude, I was also taken back by the lack of respect for the honor code. (For those who are not aware, BYU has an honor code which highlights and supports principals and practices of the LDS church, i.e., wearing modest clothing, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, etc.). The lack of respect I saw came in the form of simple observations having to do with dress and conduct. I am not sure why some students do not take the honor code seriously. I suppose it has something to do with not fully understanding what it means to sign a contract (as this is what BYU students do when they select and are accepted at BYU) to support the honor code. Or perhaps it has to do with an inability to see how the honor code really can bless them (ex., by helping them learn and practice a behavior that will help them be successful in career, marriage, and family).
Not only do I feel saddened by the lack of commitment and respect I have observed some BYU students (and faculty) having for the honor code, but I feel a lack of commitment to and support of the honor code disrespects and takes advantage of all those who have consecrated monies and resources for such a great institution. It is an honor to be a BYU. Perhaps remembering that it is an honor to be here might help us better appreciate and support the honor code?! Finally, I would argue that supporting the honor code is perhaps one of the best ways to show gratitude to BYU, and to all those who have consecrated much to provide us the opportunity to be here.