BYU updates honor code following student criticism

FILE - In this April 12, 2019, file photo, Tyler Slade and Zoe Calcote stand for a moment of silence on the campus of Brigham Young University with hundreds of BYU students at a rally to oppose how the schools Honor Code Office investigates and discThe Associated Press
FILE - In this April 12, 2019, file photo, Tyler Slade and Zoe Calcote stand for a moment of silence on the campus of Brigham Young University with hundreds of BYU students at a rally to oppose how the school's Honor Code Office investigates and disciplines students, in Provo, Utah. The university has updated its honor code process following widespread student criticism that the process lacks transparency and compassion, announcing the changes Wednesday, July 10, 2019. They include an "innocent until proven guilty" policy and allow someone to accompany students in honor code meetings. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the institution. (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File)

Brigham Young University has updated its honor code process following widespread student criticism that it lacks transparency and compassion.

University officials announced the changes Wednesday. They include following an "innocent until proven guilty" policy and allowing someone to accompany students in honor code meetings.

Honor code office director Kevin Utt said the chances are meant to reduce anxiety and misunderstanding among students.

The Utah university is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and mandates students follow a code that prohibits premarital sex, the consumption of alcohol, coffee and tea among other rules to comply with the church's health code.

Students began an informal campaign earlier this year to reduce honor code punishments that ban activities common at other colleges including drinking, premarital sex, beards and piercings.