The Honor Code at Brigham Young University

One of the things that makes Brigham Young University unique is its Honor Code.  Students and employees at Brigham Young University are expected to abide by the Honor Code.  The origins of the Honor Code lie in the establishment of the Domestic Organization by Karl G. Maeser in the late 1870s to aid students live according to the standards of the Brigham Young Academy.  The Honor Code was formally adopted by the university in the 1940s and aimed to help students be more responsible in the living of the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Honor Code has evolved over the years to include dress and grooming standards, morality, and academic honesty.  The University Archives is home to several collections that document the development of the Honor Code.  They include:

  • UA 195 Domestic Department Records, 1879-1900 Collection includes minutes of meetings and lists of students involved. The Domestic Organization, created by Karl G. Maeser, concerned itself with regulating student life through a self-policing system. It concentrated on curfew times, boarding house regulations and adherence to the Word of Wisdom. The 1884-1885 volume also includes minutes of the missionary meetings and the general theology class.
  • UA 239 Domestic Department Records, 1879-1881 Collection includes domestic department records with typewritten transcript of minutes and description of organization for maintaining honorable conduct.
  • UA SC 56 Miscellaneous items on the BYU honor system, 1957-1960 Includes student handbooks and two recommendations to the faculty council on the honor code
  • UA 1022  Pamphlets concerning the Honor Code, n. d. This collection contains pamphlets from the Honor Code office, the student Associations, and from the Athletic Department explaining the Honor Code.
  • UA 971  Tributes, 1969-1979 This collection contains tributes to Brigham Young University that were gathered during the administration of President Dallin H. Oaks.  Topics include the cleanliness of the campus, the honor code and the appearance of students and faculty.
  • UA 64  History of the formal honor system at Brigham Young University during the first ten years, 1950-1960 Collection includes a report on the history of the Honor System at Brigham Young University since its formal adoption and an analysis of its major problems.  It also discusses the attitudes of students and faculty and methods of operation used by the Honor Council.

If you are interested in learning more about the Honor Code, please come to Special Collections and take a look at these collections.  If you would like help in refining your research strategy, please contact the University Archivist at gordon_daines@byu.edu or (801) 422-5821.

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