What are US university ‘honour codes’?

Madi BarneyImage copyright

When a young American woman told police she had been raped, her university started to investigate whether she had violated its “honour code” before the attack took place. At some US colleges even having a man in your room or drinking alcohol is an offence. What is an “honour code” and how is it supposed to work?

Madi Barney was so terrified she would be thrown out of Brigham Young University (BYU) she waited four days to tell police in the city of Provo, Utah, that she had been raped in her own flat.

“I just remember sobbing and telling the police officer I couldn’t go forward because BYU was going to kick me out,” Barney, 20, told the New York Times.

Her fears were borne out when she was summoned to the university weeks later. She learned her police file had been passed to university officials and they had launched an investigation into “honour code” violations.

BYU is a Mormon college, and in order to enrol there Barney had signed up to a strict code of conduct.

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