The BYU official policy of Political Neutrality states, “Residents of university housing may display partisan political signs in their apartment windows.” This rule means that individuals living in On-Campus housing have freedom to show support to any particular candidate or ideology without facing consequences from the University so long as the decorations are displayed from inside the window.
The On-Campus housing policy states, “Decorations should not be hung on the outside of windows or buildings, on the ceiling, or on window coverings.” Hall Advisors are given authority to enforce this rule at their discretion. On the surface, the rule and method of enforcement are fair and free. However in practice there appears to be some bias through the enforcement of the law.
A student contacted the Chronicle and told us their story.
“My roommates and I were poking fun and hung a bunch of different flags outside our window. We had a Let’s Go Brandon, Women for Trump, and Don’t Tread on Me. We rotated them every couple weeks. Eventually our RA told us to take them down due to instructions from his hall advisor,” the student said.
On the surface, the request seems fair and in line with BYU policy. However, the student continued, “We took it down. But I see gay pride flags or any assortment of political flags every time I walk around my complex, Heritage, Helaman, you name it.”
When asked about whether there were any other flags hanging in the same fashion as our source, they confirmed saying there were not any flags hanging under the same RA, but there were flags hanging from apartments under the same Hall Advisor during the same time period.
This incident occurred during the months of January and February 2022. When asked if they felt targeted, the student said, “I would probably consider it selective enforcement.” Upon investigation, the student and the HA appeared to have a strained relationship prior to the request.
Wymount Terrace sustains the same policy as the rest of campus. Pictures obtained by the Chronicle show the presence of Pride Progress flags hanging from the windows of private residences. It is true that there are different Hall Advisors across campus, but in this case there appears to be selective enforcement from certain advisors with preference given to certain political ideas. Below are some examples of flags currently hanging at Wymount Terrace.
After corroborating with the source, we have confirmed there are currently other locations with pride flags being displayed in similar fashions. During discussions with other students on campus, a common theme emerged. Many conservative students began to feel as though they could not openly express their views without fear of being ostracized.
This story will be updated as all parties contacted respond to requests for comment.
Written by: Ian Farris
Contributor at 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