LDS handbook policy has real-life affect on students

When Kasey Johnson and her wife heard about the LDS handbook policy change they were stunned and began looking into whether or not it was a rumor or if the church had legitimately issued it.

“When we found out that it had, the dialogue between us was surrounding the fact that we have three children that live part-time with us and part-time with their father and he is still practicing the LDS faith,” said Johnson.

They were particularly concerned because their son was going to turn 8 on Nov. 8, three days after the policy leak.

“Initially we were really concerned about whether or not he was going to be able to be baptized, and historically we have been very supportive of them remaining in the church and being raised with both concepts,” said Johnson. “Their father’s religion and then our own beliefs.”

Johnson and her wife weren’t sure if they would still support the children’s involvement in the church if this were the new language toward their mom.

On Friday morning Johnson couldn’t get a nagging feeling that this wasn’t right, and the church wouldn’t punish the children for their mom’s lifestyle.

Johnson had previously participated in Writing for Social Change on campus and was originally thinking of writing an essay on her feelings, but decided that instead she wanted to talk to fellow students about how this policy change was impacting her family. She sewed the letter A on the back of a black t-shirt with red fabric and came to school.

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Photo courtesy Kasey Johnson

Johnson made a sign with poster board and affixed it to a trashcan with tape that read, “A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same gender relationship, whether the couple is married or not (cohabitating) may not receive a name – Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.

What is named still exists. Our children have just been asked by their church to disavow their mommy’s or … their church will disavow them. The LDS church has gone too far! Sincerely, A concerned lesbian mommy.”

She then stood in the hallway that connects the Bookstore and Pope Science Building and handed out fliers with a red letter A to students as they walked by. Before a student accepted the flier she explained that it stood for apostate and asked the student to read her poster. She said that she received over 100 apologies and 4 hugs.

After standing there for over an hour talking to students she began to pick up some of her fliers that were on the ground. It was then that she noticed a police officer and someone who appeared to be a faculty member approaching her.

“I could tell they were interested in reading it (her sign), so I walked and I stood behind them about 12 feet and I was taking pictures of them reading the poster,” said Johnson.

She said she had lowered her camera and smiled because she thought this was so cool. Then the police officer ripped the sign off of the trashcan, wadded it up and threw it in the trashcan without ever speaking a word to Johnson.

According to Melinda Colton, spokesperson for the UVU Police Department, all signs have to be approved and stamped by Campus Connection.

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Colton said the police officer, Kelly Liddiard, had seen the student there earlier and had approached to see if the stamp from Campus Connection was on the sign. When he didn’t see the stamp he removed it.

“This isn’t any different than any other unapproved content,” said Colton.

According to UVU’s temporary signage policy, all temporary signs have to be approved by Campus Connection, and can only be hung at designated bulletin boards and tack strips. Any unapproved signs will be removed and disposed of by Campus Connection.

When Liddiard removed her sign, Johnson said she was dumbfounded and began to worry that she needed some sort of permit to be there.

“Then it struck me as odd that he took the time to read it first, and I wondered had it been any other message would he have looked around or asked anyone, ‘Hey, is this yours?’ He certainly never made eye contact with me,” said Johnson.

Not wanting a confrontation, Johnson left the area, and a minute or so later returned to retrieve her poster from the trashcan. Johnson then left campus because she was so upset.

“I don’t know if the police officer had permission to do what he was doing or if that was part of his job, or if she was allowed to be where she was,” said Aaron Green, a witness to the incident. “But I do know that she (Johnson) was being disruptive and she was purposely being inflammatory. She wasn’t yelling or screaming or anything, it was just what was written on the poster.”

According to Maren Turnidge, the university ombudsman, neither Johnson nor Liddiard were in the wrong.

For rules and procedures to have a temporary sign approved students can go to www.uvu.edu/campusconnection/services/signage.html

If you see any unapproved signs you can contact Campus Connection, or the UVU Police Department by calling (801) 863-5555.

23 thoughts on “LDS handbook policy has real-life affect on students

  1. What a ridiculous post. It is school policy that items in the middle of walk-ways are against code. How do I know? Because I am an employee on campus. If I am against code in marketing, the police remove my stuff as well. This was POORLY administered by the student. The UVU student has a right to free speech, but needs to better organize their efforts. Contact the school, set-up a table, and express views following school code. I THOUGHT THE UVU REVIEW WAS BETTER THAN THIS. HONESTLY. Seriously guys.. This has nothing to do with a police offer being discriminating, rather he was acting in behalf of school code in reference to walk-ways and marketing procedures.
    STOP TRYING TO MAKE A SCENE.

  2. Hi Matthew-
    Thanks for your feedback. We never say that the police officer was being discriminating, just that it happened and how it made the student feel.
    Also this article alerts other students to the fact that signs have to be approved, a fact that many students are not aware of.

  3. Wow, someone’s a bit touchy. Who’s making the scene here? Not the Review. Buddy, this is a newspaper—it’s journalism—that’s what it is supposed to do, not cater to your special feelings. If you’re too sensitive to handle it, don’t read it; and take your emotionally charged, defensive rant elsewhere and chill out. Carrie, your article was fine. I appreciated hearing this woman’s perception, and also thought the officer seemed unprofessional and pissy in the way he tore her sign down. He could’ve asked her about it and explained the rules, but he chose to be an ass about it. We don’t need any more asses! There are plenty already.

    1. The Review has left out a number FACTS when doing their “journalism” in this case. Calling the officer “unprofessional” and “pissy” is just as bad as the comments Matthew made. The student purposely moved away from the display. Because of this the officer would have to actively follow her to speak to her on the subject (this is how videos about police overreaction come to be).You may note that the job of the police is enforcement not education. The FACT of the matter is that the officer removed a display that was out of line and he did so without so much as confronting the violator. I have stated previously and will continue do so as one of the few witnesses present for the ENTIRE (dude in the labcoat) incident; this “news” is as credible as Limbaugh, The Food Babe, or The Onion.

  4. Let me just copy and paste some comments from the facebook community:

    Amie Huntsman: Regardless of her statement–her sign is an ADA violation. You cannot place signs in the middle of hallways. This is not news. Just a police officer following regulations. From a former UVU Review Assistant News Editor (me): stop trying to make something news that clearly is not.

    David Scott: Tell them student to take my comm3700 media law class.

    Austin Dressman: Maybe don’t leave it taped to a trashcan unattended in the middle of one of the busiest hallways on campus?

    Matthew J. Bryson The school can’t advertise EVERY policy.. if the government of the United States were forced to drill into every citizen the content of every law, we’d be bankrupt in advertising, and overwhelmed with law facts. People need to use common sense!

    David Scott: It would behoove the officer to at least tell the students what rights she does have. She can hold the sign. She can carry it around all day long. She can express her views on a shirt. She can picket. She just can’t prevent egress or set up s table without approval— just as people cannot block city sidewalks.

    In conclusion, I think the facebook post (which is entirely to gain attention on potential police abuse and discrimination) needs revisement. If you want to increase understanding of campus signage policy, re-write it in a better way. This kind of stuff increases hate, fear, and resentment towards our officers on duty. Officers who protect us. Instead, consider an article that increases hope, love, and understanding. But, in my opinion, this isn’t even worthy of being a news story.

  5. There’s always the right place at the right time.

    I agree with Matt by following rules and policy. That’s what makes a difference. Knowing of something right and doing it the right way.

    I question this footage. I question this post. This is a petty issue in comparison to what is really going on where people are dying and people are suffering. Like the Middle East!!!!

    Sounds like this is a personal issue.

    100% this is staged.

    Hey, UVU news paper here is an invitation, which I know you won’t write and cover about. Write about something more relevant and how you and your editors can be put to use. Like, the U.S. Ambassador Sam Zakhem about Christians being persecuted in the Middle East and recent events in France, Syrian and Lebanon.

    that would be nice. #NoMoreISIS #NoMoreGenocice #NoMoreTerror

    1. This is actually video footage from the school’s surveillance camera’s. No editing was done to this video.
      I agree that other issues are important to talk about, but the voice of a student is always relevant. We also don’t have anyone here to talk to us that has first hand knowledge of the crisis in the Middle East and France on a regular basis. Sometimes we have Ambassador’s come and speak to us, but that is different, that is event coverage. If we were to cover the terrorist attacks in France or the crisis in Syria we would just be giving the same information that other newspapers have already presented. We would be getting our news from them.

  6. Hey Matthew:

    I get what you’re trying to say, but your delivery is off.

    No where in the article is the word discrimination used (and if you mention that it’s “implied”, so help me…), the headline even took a conservative side by just stating how the policy change had affected some students. It didn’t lead in with “A police officer at UVU took down a sign in the halls of UVU on Friday because a student took offense to the new LDS policy change. The officer did not agree with this statement and proceeded to berate the student for even thinking that way while smashing her sign into the garbage pale it was taped on!”

    This article’s attempt was not to raise awareness about school policy on signage on campus. It was about getting a students voice out there while touching on the school policy. Carrie, awesome job.

  7. Give it to UVU Review to trump up something that wasn’t anything to begin with. Policy is policy. As a former Student Council Member, I asked people to stop handing out fliers and removed non-approved posters all the time. The student body hates being bombarded with flyers. Ask anyone during campaign week.

  8. Again, there is the right place and right time. They are in UVU territory and they need to follow rules and policy.

    Just like an American citizen stepping into a different territory with different laws.

    All I am saying is that, this post is just a drama attention. It is definitely irrelevant. Ask this question, who will benefit from this post, except students complaining. Complaints are not solution and it will bring negative awareness. After today, everyone’s life will move on and this will be forgotten.

    But, what is going on the Middle East and the terror that’s happening in this world will continue and perhaps the terror will come here in our home turf and even at uvu.

    Hey UVU News, the reason why, you were not informed about the recent ambassador that came to UVU campus (US Ambassador – Sam Zakhem) is because you’re busy writing this irrelevant article over the weekend.

    If you are all going to be a journalist in the future and a successful one. Write about what the reality of things outside US. Not this petty personal staged issue by a student.

    #NoMoreISIS
    #NoMoreGenocide
    #NoMoreTerror

  9. 100% I still stand on what Matt J. Bryson. Obeying policy, rules and laws what brings freedom in our lives.

    Still, UVU News, please bring awareness on something that’s more important and matters.

  10. I understand the title of the actual article, however the post on Facebook states:

    “A UVU student came to school to talk to other students about why the LDS policy change was upsetting to her. A police officer came and removed her sign. You can read more here: http://bit.ly/1H4PKiO

    So yes, there is an emphasis of police abuse and discrimination used.. targeting the police officer for a plausible offense. This is a misleading headline for the article. The UVU Review should edit and correct the title to the original title of the article: “LDS handbook policy has real-life affect on students”. However, the whole video attached with the Facebook post is OBVIOUSLY implying discrimination by our UVU police. If they want to market their article, try other means. And, i’m pretty sure a good majority on Facebook agreed with me. Maybe check it out. Just because the word “discriminate” wasn’t used, doesn’t mean the UVU Review wasn’t trying to imply something in their FACEBOOK post.

    More comments found on Facebook:

    Neal Peterson: ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Does UVU REVIEW really having nothing better to do than write bogus articles like this? The police officer did NOTHING wrong. I agree 100%with Matthew J. Bryson, there is ZERO discrimination. Police officers are here to protect, serve, and enforce the law. If the school policy is to get all signs approved, and the trash can is a fire hazard, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? It’s articles like this that you loose all credibility. I am ALL for people protesting and expressing their opinion, but we have to do it in the right way and obey the law.

    Chad Nordhoff: If you don’t like church policy then don’t join. The policy is just for members.

  11. I completely agree with what Matt Bryson and also Neal Peterson have said thus far. You can tell that the girl knew what was going to happen staged this to place blame on the police officer. The facebook post is misleading and does potray discrimination and abuse by the police officer. I believe in free speech but you must follow the rules and regulations that UVU has clearly outlined for every organization and student on campus. If you want to reserve a table or get a poster approved you have to contact facilities and also campus connection. If you believe in something so strong you need to take the correct steps in order to get your message across.

  12. This article was not in favor for the officer or the student. Calm down matt. Very well written article about events that happened. Nothing more nothing less. Thanks for the article!

  13. Thanks Jeff, it was a fun article to read. However, the Facebook post is similar to many across the nation who wish to push videos and images of police abuse or discrimination. The title of the facebook post along with the video imply plausible police discrimination. Change or clarify the facebook post to reduce a damaging effect across our nation.. an effect that increases fear, uncertainty, and anger. Especially against police. The UVU Review subtly suggests this in their Facebook post. Why couldn’t they call it, “Police enforce campus policy by removing sign” or “UVU student speaks out against LDS policy change, UVU police removed sign due to campus policy”. Or something else. Instead, it suggests otherwise, until you read the article. But how many people actually read the article on facebook? The headline says it all. And this time, it’s misleading. 🙂

    And Jeff, when it comes to police discrimination and abuse in my local university. I take it very seriously. It is those officers who protect me every day. In return, I speak out to protect them. 🙂

  14. Great reporting UVU Review! As an alumni of the university, I’m happy to see you reporting on issues that really matter. Look, is Matthey J Bryson correct that she was in violation of the code and should have relocated? Yes, absolutely. However, the manner in which the officer removed the sign with force, crumbling it up and slamming it in the garbage without even so much as saying a word to the student was definitely the wrong approach for the situation. With that being said, the student was also wrong to cower and walk off when she saw the officer approaching. I would have stood my ground and asked if there was an issue. For someone who was trying to create dialogue about a tough issue, she folded like a cheap suit when the pressure showed up. Next time, stand your ground and own up to that sign! Chances are, had she wanted to go through the proper approval channels, UVU would have vetoed that sign to begin with. Free speech is only free when it fits the expected narrative.

    1. Dear Dan, while I thank you for your objective reasoning (a tribute of only a few select respondents have possessed) Id like to state for the record that I did not flee nor crumple like “a cheap suit.” I was standing just behind the sight of the camera taking photos. I had started picking up my extra fliers to hand to a group of students who were also just out of view of the camera several moments before I even noticed the officer approaching. Again, thank you for your kind objectivism.

  15. The entire 2nd half of this story was boring and didn’t inform me of anything interesting or concerning. If you want the article to be about how the Lds policy affects students then write about that and leave out how an officer took down a sign posted against school policy. There are so many important current events you could have written about. I heard Sam Zakhem spoke on campus but I wasn’t able to attend. Why isn’t there an article about what he said? The Review can do better! I also found the Facebook post to be deceptive.

  16. As the person most heavily featured in the video and one of the people quoted in the article I can say, facts were left out, glossed over, and purposely ignored. This “news” is as credible as Limbaugh, The Food Babe, or The Onion.

  17. Remove yes. Remove tear apart and trashed while the person is still there is so very Danite of him. There is a proper way, and a thuggish way. The school seemingly has no problems with the thuggish way. How very enlightened.

  18. This is a terribly written piece. Out of order and hard to read/digest. Maybe it is time for a change in the starting lineup at The Review?

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