All signs point to UVU

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According to Air Force Col. Timothy Hogan, current Commander of BYU’s Air Force ROTC, the secretary of defense is reviewing policy on universities that have preconditions for employment, such as BYU’s Honor Code.

A high-level source within the department of defense confirmed the information.

BYU has been the home of Air Force ROTC Detachment 855 since 1951.

“The Department of Defense values its relationship with BYU, which has a long history of producing outstanding officers in the armed forces,” said Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, Defense Department spokesman released the following statement Jan. 25. “The Department is developing plans for continued delivery of ROTC programs for students at BYU and across the Provo area. We will continue to involve the leadership of the local universities as these plans are more fully developed. We appreciate the leadership of BYU in advancing and protecting the interests of both the University and the Department and look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.”

Private and religious universities around the country maintain preconditions for the hiring of education personnel. According to the BYU Honor Code, all students and faculty must agree to live a life of honesty, chastity, obedience to local laws and regular participation in church services. The code also requires abstinence from use of foul language and the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee.

Hogan interpreted the new position of the secretary of defense. “Nobody signs any honor codes,” he said. “We all [took an oath] and that should be good enough.”

“BYU wasn’t willing to let off on that requirement for professors,” said Hogan. “So, in December [2016] the Department of Defense decided to move the [detachment] to UVU.”

Maj. Benjamin Snell, operations officer for BYU Air Force ROTC said this transition has been in process for months.

“Col. Hogan made the announcement t Friday, [Jan. 20]. We will remain a crosstown entity,” said Snell. “UVU students enrolled as Air Force cadets have been traveling to BYU for years. The only thing that will change is that BYU cadets will make the trip for Air Force classes.”

Hogan explained that BYU has granted exceptions to the Honor Code policy for visiting professors in the past. However, such exceptions are limited to one year for visiting professors.

“It’s a difference between BYU and the Air Force,” said Hogan. “BYU wouldn’t give me an exception to policy because my contract is three years.”

Hogan said that his personal feelings are irrelevant.

“I’m agnostic,” said Hogan. “I got here in August. I don’t want it to impact cadets. I don’t want to lose cadets. I’m here to organize, train and equip these guys to become the future generation of leaders. I don’t care if I teach at USU, BYU, I don’t care. Just give me an audience and a classroom.”

BYU declined to comment and directed questions to the Department of Defense.

“UVU has been open arms,” said Hogan. “I have an office here on campus and UVU has given me access to the old Army ROTC building. The decision will be final once Congress approves. We don’t know, but we are looking for this to take place before the fall 2017 semester.”

Chris Taylor, associate vice president of marketing and communications, released a statement Jan. 24. “BYU and UVU have participated in a long standing and thriving cross-town Air Force ROTC detachment and joint training relationship. There have been informal discussions about future stationing of said detachment, but no formal decisions have been made at this point and the issue rests primarily with the Department of Defense,” he said.

“It’s going to simplify a lot of things for next semester,” said Steven Holley, Air Force ROTC cadet and UVU information technology major.

Finalization for a permanent move can come only after congressional approval. Hogan said Congress has been briefed on the situation. In the meantime, Hogan is moving forward with the information he has been given.