Dolphins Rape Hipsters
The HC and the sad case of Ron Selleaze
I'm copying this from an account I wrote previously and there's an outside chance I've shared it here before but didn't think I had.
While I was at the Y I wrote for a rinky-dink sports monthly called "Red & Blue Sports Notes." They paid me $150 a month for a single article that usually took me 2-3 hours of work and it gave me the chance to talk to coaches and athletes and a press pass for press conferences. (The publication went down in mysterious circumstances and they still owe me for my last two articles, one of which resulted in me getting yelled at over the phone by Rick Majerus after Jeff Judkins gave me his number and said "yeahhh - he stays up late, he won't care if you call now at 11:30 PM," and I fell for it - have to hand it to Judkins for getting a punk wannabe reporter to call Rick Majerus at midnight - but that's another story...)
For one of my pieces I had lunch with Ron Selleaze. (It was the first time I heard the expression "true 'dat", a real landmark for me). I was struck by how humble--verging on insecure--Ron was. In the course of our conversation it came through very poignantly that BYU was a challenging environment for him, but he wanted to embrace it. It was the first place he had ever been where the majority of the people he encountered led clean lives. Once he'd opened up he told me that he was sometimes baffled by how happy people could be, but that it made him hopeful. "I never saw people so happy," he said.
His father was a junkie, his mother was an alcoholic and he was raised by his grandmother near Oakland. Almost everything he had ever seen had been ugly until finally Steve Cleveland took a chance to get him out to BYU. It seemed to me at the time that Ron symbolized a great opportunity for the Church and BYU to fulfill their respective (complimentary) missions--a chance to engage people from challenging backgrounds and give them a chance to absorb something from the Gospel and (even if they don't convert) to take it back to the communities they come from.
So it was a saddening thing for me when Ron got charged with possession of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone and was kicked out of school. I have to confess that I don't know all of the technicalities involved here--for instance whether or not the University might be obligated by its own charter to expel anyone with a misdemeanor.
But from what I know on the inside story, Selleaze maintains that it wasn't even his "controlled substance." He had a couple of friends out from Oakland. Those boys were doing what they do, lighting up some bowls. Ron was--as I understand the story, which is as he tells it--taking a nap when the Provo Police hit the scene and the possession charge was based on the fact that friends of his were using drugs in his appartment.
Whatever those details may be, I see a massive disconnect here. I understand the Honor Code's rationale and I think it is justly applied to LDS students who understand the substance of the Gospel and have made covenants to observe them.
But when we have someone at BYU who needs the Gospel more desperately than anyone else, who needs proximity to positive people and things and whose life could be changed forever by a second chance, it seems to me to run directly counter to the most fundamental Gospel precepts for us to deny that second chance. Applying the most rigorous LDS standards to kids that grew up in the LA projects sort of conflicts with the whole "line upon line, precept upon precept" thing. Denying those kids the opportunity to come to BYU also conflicts with the Church's universal mission.
I don't know what I'm suggesting. I don't know what a solution is. But the Honor Code ain't the Gospel, it's not even close, it's part of Gospel-related BYU culture. God will not, in the end, judge everyone by the same standard--he will judge them individually by what they knew and how they managed their lives in accordance with what they knew.
Another thing that came out of a recent conversation with a former BYU D-lineman... (who is an RM and a rock-solid LDS member) he said that Honor Code violations are at least as common among member athletes (although typically less egregious) but that they know the process. They have an advocate and a confidante in their bishops. Non-mormon athletes are referred immediately to the impersonal bureaucracy of the HC office.
THAT is an inequity that needs to be addressed--both for the good of the kids and the good of BYU's public relations efforts.
Last edited by oxcoug; 05-01-2010 at 02:12 PM.
I'm continually saddened by BYU's inability to live its own religion and instead institute some perceived "higher form" of mormonism to which virtually no one can adhere, except for Grapevine and on some days, indycoug
Dolphins Rape Hipsters
I don't know if the institution will ever adapt along these lines but to do it it's going to need a transformational leader - and it's uh... been a couple of decades since BYU had a President with that sort of potential.
Originally Posted by Viking
Since Rex. The GA gig for BYU has been a disaster in my view. Samuelson is a very intelligent guy but...
Originally Posted by oxcoug