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Catharsis: A Letter To Ryan

December 4, 2002

Ryan McElroy
28 Broadbent Hall

Dear Ryan,

This letter explains the action of the Honor Code Office regarding your decision to leave Brigham Young University as a consequence of violating the Honor Code. A registration hold has been placed on your record, requiring you to sever all formal connections with the university, including university employment and BYU approved housing, effective December 20, 2002. Please work with the Discontinuance Office (B-150 ASB, (801) 378-7705) to properly discontinue your registration. The only exception to this policy is Independent Study. The earliest that you might be eligible to return to BYU is Winter Semester 2004. Moreover, BYU reserves the right to delay or deny re-admission after you meet the conditions outlined in this letter. Ryan, you must be willing to do whatever is necessary to overcome this behavioral problem.

From now until December 20, 2002, you are required to abide by the behavioral provisions of the Honor Code. Any failure to do so will result in your being required to leave the university immediately.

Should you wish to reenter Brigham Young University, you are required to comply with the following conditions. You will also need to complete the conditions outlined in the Honor Code Office Letter dated December 17, 2001.

  1. Bishop Support: Develop a plan with your authorized bishop to assist you in maintaining your life in full congruence with the BYU Honor Code. When you fulfill all the requirements of the plan, have your bishop send me a letter indicating your satisfactory completion and providing a recommendation regarding your return to good Honor Code standing.
  2. Counseor Support: Verify though a letter from a professional therapist approved by the Honor Code Office that you have satisfactorily participated in an on-going conseling program and that conditions leading to your leaving school have been resolved. Also, it is recommended that you participate in an ongoing support group.
  3. Reading and Writing Assignment: Write a reflection paper from the book entitled Bonds That Make Us Free by Terry Warner. This paper is to be turned in to the Honor Code Office in a timely manner.
  4. Additional Reading and Writing Assignment: Write a reflection paper from the article entitled The Pornography Trap by Victor B. Cline and Brad Wilcox. This one page paper is to be turned in to the Honor Code Office within one month of the date you signed your letter that you are leaving the university.
  5. Personal Journal: Keep a journal and make at least three entries per week. Use this time to record your experiences, reading and reflections on issues related to the Honor Code, particularly the Cline and Wilcox article and Warner’s book. Also reflect on the four aims of a BYU education which are (1) to enlarge the intellect, (2) to strengthen the spirit, (3) to build character, and (4) to prepare for life-long learning and service. To protect your privacy, I will ask your bishop to verify that you have accomplished this condition.
  6. Exemplary Living Environment: Confirm in a letter to the Honor Code Office that you have complied with the following two conditions: first, that you have refrained from participating in any social interactions or events (on or off campus) which may invite or lead to the Honor Code being violated; and secondly, that you have maintained a living environment which is supportive of academic endeavors and is free of Honor Code violations. These two conditions are to help you avoid any further violations of the Honor Code.
  7. Sustain the Honor Code: In your letter to the Honor Code Office, attest that you have obeyed the Honor Code in its entirety; and tell what you have done to support others in their commitment to live it.

Enclosed is an Application for Clearance of an Honor Code Hold. When you have completed the conditions and believe that you have made sufficient progress to return, submit the enclosed form with the required documentation. The Honor Code Office will review your application. If the hold is removed, you will need to apply for readmission to the university.

Ryan, I regret that this action has become necessary; yet, I believe that you can meet this challenge with determination and success.



Steven M. Baker

Enc: Application for Clearance of an Honor Code Hold

pc: Bishop Robert Wilson
President Rand H. Packer

I have read and understood the above letter and agree to live by the conditions outlined. I understand that withdrawing on my own ends the university process including reviews.

Signed, Ryan McElroy, 12/4/2002

6 Responses to “Catharsis: A Letter To Ryan”

  1. Stickman Says:

    I don’t get it. You got kicked out of BYU? I didn’t know that.

  2. dc Says:

    I don’t mean to spit upon years of tradition and a system that was created by individuals much smarter than myself, but…

    are/were they for-fricking-serious? i can’t believe some of the requirements that they set for you to meet should you wish to return and gift them with your money.. -_-

  3. Ryan Says:

    Stickman: Basically, yes, I was kicked out. More precisely, as the letter states, I chose to leave BYU so that the University would not have to begin the process of kicking me out.

    dc: I was not “gifting” them with my money. I was granted a full-tuition scholarship, on top of a huge amount of money already subsidized to every student at BYU by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I broke the rules that I agreed to when I began attending the university. They had every right to ask me to leave, and even to kick me out if necessary, and I don’t fault them for doing so.

    There is much more to this story, of course, but it has taken me 4 years to even come far enough to post something like this.

  4. Erik Thulin Says:

    It certainly does take a lot of nerve to share something like this, a characteristic I greatly admire.

    My respect.

  5. dc Says:


    do you believe that the conditions they outlined here for you would have “rectified” your behavior had you chosen to pursue readmittance to BYU?

  6. Ryan Says:

    dc: Its hard to tell; I never followed through, but honestly, I doubt it. Sometimes I wonder if I’m unrectifiable, but I also try to not give up hope. I don’t think I’ll be headed back to BYU anytime soon though, and not just because I failed to meet the one month deadline.

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