The Cougar Chronicle is aware of a recent Salt Lake Tribune article and online petition suggesting the Chronicle unfairly mobilized bullies against Dr. Sarah Coyne. We and our good faith readers are in full support of the article and petition’s plea to recognize Dr. Coyne as a daughter of God, and we condemn all the hate and harassment Dr. Coyne may have received. Additionally, we wish to clear the record for the accusations leveled in the petition.
First, our initial response to this story was not to publish it, but rather to encourage the student to “be the one to speak up” and explain her concerns in a “loving” way. This would be in line with what the BYU spokesperson in the article suggested. Later discoveries about Coyne’s flawed research, which was promoted by BYU, led to the report.
Second, while only one student (Jarvis) was quoted in the article, the information she shared was verified by a second source. We thank Julie Jarvis for her courage and willingness to stand for what she believes is right both in the classroom and in the oftentimes messy public square.
Third, in line with journalistic standards, we reached out to Coyne for comment and never received a response. It is difficult to have conversation and understanding if one side refuses to communicate. We welcome and hope for a respectful conversation with Dr. Coyne to discuss the content of our article. Unlike our story, the Salt Lake Tribune did not reach out to the Chronicle for comment. We call on the Tribune to maintain journalistic standards and ask for comments from all involved parties in an article. We have done so for other professors in an effort to get full context. Some of these reports have been published and some dropped after learning the full situation. We recognize the balance professors must walk in order to convey secular and religious viewpoints.
Fourth, the petition is quoted in the article, saying, “At no point did she promote transitioning or any other practice that was contrary to what the Church teaches.” Evidence the Chronicle has gathered from Coyne’s class presentation, prior research, and student accounts from her class suggest this may not be the case. An upcoming report will go through all of this in detail.
Fifth, out of respect for the privacy of Coyne’s family, decisions were made by our editors about what information to include and what information to leave out when it came to the subject of suicide.
The Cougar Chronicle will continue to work to fulfill its mission to “spread the conservative perspective in the BYU community through the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” We encourage those who have concerns about our methods or messages to reach out to us directly. We also encourage everyone to respectfully and courageously defend the truth in their own spheres.
From The Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
First, it seems you are simultaneously condemning and encouraging hate and harassment of this family and continue to do so publicly. I wonder what the expected response was of your typical readers by your team after publication of such an article. You must have known the response, and by publicly calling out the professor, you mobilized your readership to do as they would. It feels like pushing over the first domino, claiming you didn’t know and are not responsible for the others falling. It would have been better to stick with your initial thought, which was to encourage the student and her concerned colleagues to report their concerns to the professor, her department, or the university, particularly when dealing with such a sensitive and emotionally charged topic.
Instead of apologizing, you blamed the SL tribune for how they represented you. By continuing to defend your stance, you are showing you do not respect Dr. Coyne’s family, as you claim, but instead are most interested in maintaining your reputation among your readers, no matter the cost. I encourage you to apologize to Dr. Coyne and stop making public this very private matter. Please allow Dr. Coyne and the University to resolve the issue within their organization. If you continue to publicize this, it will only mean additional attention and attacks on this mother and child.
My guy, that’s not how this works. Just because Coyne may have received backlash, that doesn’t mean the Chronicle now cannot defend themselves from bad journalism or else its shows they don’t care about Coyne. Two things can be true at once. Hate bad, bad journalism bad. There’s no need to do mental gymnastics to read bad intentions into it.
This is complex and difficult. Maybe this is helpful to consider.
Intellectual humility- is a powerful and meaningful process.
I feel it is important to first of all acknowledge that I don’t think this is an individual issue.
I believe it is a system issue and individuals are acting in good faith to a system problem.
I wonder, if we are in a setting to learn, why not challenge your beliefs and or biases, and ask, Dr. Coyne, can you explain to me how my two competing values are at war with each other?
I feel this is a common narrative that has been handed to us by the system – Can you relate to this line of thinking? –
(Here are the possible conflicting beliefs?)
How can I stay in this religion and also hold space for what your child is going through?
How can I sing the song,
“I Will Walk With You,”
(I assume (Dr. Coyne) you are trying to help me see, that I am supposed to walk with my child during all the challenges in their life, when my God, has clearly told me not to?)
(But yet He has told me to as well.)
I have the belief that parents are doing this to their child. Not even considering this might not be true at all.
I am told I am supposed to love my child unconditionally.
Only if they live my beliefs.
When we can’t come to an easy answer, it seems it is also common, to surrender to our formed beliefs at birth, then simply ask-
Can you share with me, what science is discovering with transgender human beings?
What is science finding and what is invaluable, to meeting the needs, and offering the support for that child?
It seems common, when we have been handed these beliefs, (often times at birth,) that we hold so tightly to those beliefs. That even if there is all kinds of evidence saying this is just not true, it is easier, in our minds, to say their research is “flawed,” or they are, “crazy.”
I have made these same errors and in the process have caused harm.
I have realized when I don’t have the ability to sit in the discomfort, and challenge my beliefs, with evidence that is sitting right in front of me, that I could be wrong, this, I have learned, is called intellectual arrogance. I am guilty of this as well.
When we’re not willing to look at the evidence and instead choose to write articles like this one. It seems, this is possibly an effort and or longing, we might have, for others to confirm, that my belief is correct, and the other person is crazy and or flawed.
What I realized happens in this line of thinking, is we dehumanize someone in this process. I don’t (for the most part) think we do this consciously, I feel this happens subconsciously. In an effort to maintain our formed beliefs. It feels safer.
This is scary difficult and courageous work.
My father was a professor at BYU for 43 years. I asked him directly on these issues. I also worked for a Neuro Professor at BYU. All of them have confirmed the reality of these spaces.
For me, the real truth is, it isn’t black and white, right or wrong, bad or good, it is in the grey where all of the sudden you see the complexity of humanity.
I believe having the ability to mourn with those who mourn, is the most sacred space we can participate in on this earth.
We also aren’t equipped or capable of doing this well. When we have such harsh judgmental beliefs. Not many people want to sit with us.
Take the time to ask these professors these hard questions. Most likely, they have faced this same space as you. Remember they are at BYU facing these same conflicting values.
They are worthy of love and respect and so are you.