A Brigham Young Scholar is accusing the college of falsely punishing her for reporting towards the police that they had been raped.
Madeline MacDonald said she was sexually assaulted by a man she had met with an online dating center while she was an 18-year-old freshman at the school.
She said she reported the incident towards the school’s Title IX office. ?However, within 24 hours she said the distinction code office at the school received a copy of the report, causing a study to begin on whether MacDonald had violated the behaviour code in the school.
Created by students in 1949, the school’s honor code does not allow students to take part in a number of activities, including premarital sex, same-sex dating, drinking alcohol, or even being in the same bedroom like a member of a potential partner. ?All students must accept abide by the code upon entrance in to the school.
Madi Barney has a similar story, saying she had been raped while on a date with 39-year-old Nasiru Seidu in her off-campus apartment last September. Seidu has since been arrested and faced with sexual assault. Barney said he gave her a fake name, lied about his age, and didn\’t tell her he was married.
Two months later, Barney was notified the school was opening an Honor Code investigation into her.
The school discovered the alleged rape after Utah County sheriff’s deputy?Edwin Randolph gave them law enforcement report.
“He knew that the victim in the event could receive disciplinary action in line with the information contained within the report,” prosecutors said in the court records.
The 20-year-old?takes her story public, saying?the school is not allowing her to register for classes. ?She continued to say she has filed a sexual discrimination complaint with federal agents, reports Corky Siemaszko for NBC News.
A number of students have gathered with other people in the community, including a Utah prosecutor, to argue?the school’s practice of investigating accusers could result in women being too afraid to report instances of sexual assault.
An online petition that asks?the school to give students who report cases of rape immunity from Honor Code investigations has garnered over 75,000 signatures so far.
“I am a survivor of rape, and today BYU has put my academic future on hold due to their allegations that I broke the Honor Code within the circumstances of my assault,” Barney said within the petition. “I want victims of sexual violence at BYU with an immunity clause in the Honor Code so that they don’t feel afraid to report.”
Meanwhile,?BYU president Kevin Worthen remains adamant the safety of their students comes first, adding that the victim of sexual assault would not be known the Honor Code Office. ?However, he did state that there are instances where it\’s found out that the victim involved in Honor Code violations.
The school announced plans this week to re-evaluate its practice and think about making changes.