Friday, January 3, 2014


I arrived early at the Honor Code Office, temporarily set up in the administration building while the Wilk is being rebuilt. I wanted to make it clear that I was happy to meet with them, that I had nothing to hide. Maybe it's not usually like this when they have their own office, but the poor lighting of the small room, with one single bulb shining down on me from behind a man who refused to sit down, made me feel like I was in some cheesy interrogation scene in a cop show. The man, who introduced himself as Brother Simmons, was unusually tall, had a fading blond comb-over, and wore a white shirt and tie. The tie was decorated with little blue BYU logos.

"I understand you struggle with unnatural power proclivity," Brother Simmons said.

"Yes," I said. "I'm a mutant." Members of UUPP have assured me that it's not technically against the rules to say this.

"I see." He scribbled on his notepad. "And have you used your 'power' recently?" He didn't actually make air-quotes with his fingers, but his tone made them for him.

"Yes. I was caught in the explosion in the Wilkinson Center on Christmas Eve, and I instinctively used my power to fly myself and two of my friends to safety."

"Is that the only time?"

"Yes," I said, because I had already repented of the bell tower incident and if that's good enough for God, then it should be good enough for Brother Simmons.

"Can you tell me what you were doing in the Wilkinson Center on Christmas Eve?"

"I was meeting with my writing group. One of the members of the group has an office in the Wilk." I didn't offer Tara's name in case letting her friends into her office during off-hours would get her in trouble, but the truth is he probably already knew all of that.

"I find it interesting that three self-proclaimed homosuperiors all happened to be on campus on a holiday, at the time of a homosuperior terrorist attack." He spat the word "homosuperior" like an insult. And in reality, no one really uses the term anymore unless they mean it as an insult. "Are the other two also members of  your 'writing group'?" Again with the intoned air-quotes.

I took a deep breath, doing my best to remain calm in the face of his attack, of what he was insinuating. "No. One was my girlfriend, but we're no longer dating." I wondered if that wasn't part of the purpose of calling me in today--to check on Jan's promise not to see me anymore. "If the other mutant you're referring to is Stan Kirby, I didn't know at the time that he was there. I didn't know him well at all, but I know he was not a terrorist." My hands were trembling now, probably more than anything out of fear that my bold defense of Stan would cost me the college degree I'm supposed to be getting in April.

"Mm hm." Brother Simmons nodded and jotted down a couple of notes. He peered down at me for what seemed like an eternity, then seemed to make a decision. "Well, I would encourage you to talk to your bishop about the flying incident, if you haven't already. Thank you for coming in."

"What?" I had been prepared for the worst. This was almost disappointing. "Are you going to put me on probation, like Jan?"

"No. You made a mistake, but as you said it was an instinctive response. You acted out of self-preservation. Contrary to popular belief, we are not heartless here. I understand why you did what you did, and I trust that you will not do it again."

I stood up. "What about Jan? She was trying to help other people. All I cared about was saving my own butt!"

Brother Simmons gave me a tight-lipped frown. "Jan is not your concern. You should worry about, as you say, your 'own butt.' Thank you again for coming in." He pointed to the door.

POST-SCRIPT: In searching for an image to go with this post, I came across the above on the Honor Code Office's homepage. As BYU students, we become intimately familiar with this quote from Karl G. Maeser. I find it ironic that the quote is associated with the Honor Code Office. The HCO, in my opinion, is all about building walls and trying to prevent students from escaping. They don't give us a chance to prove our honor by choosing on our own to stay within the chalk circle. Jan is one of the most honorable people I know.

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