BYU removes LGBTQ resource pamphlets from gift bags

BYU administrators decide to take out LGBTQ+ resource pamphlets from freshman gift bags.

Pamphlets were removed from freshman gift bags due to decision by the BYU admin as fees from affiliated groups were refunded. Graphic by Meg McKellar

Controversy arose when a BYU administrator decided that they should remove these pamphlets from the freshman gift bags. BYU then paid these LGBTQ+ allies that were involved in the making of these pamphlets $2,000 for material costs.

With the new year starting Brigham Young University had prepared gift bags for incoming freshmen. In these gift bags LGBTQ allies, such as the Out Foundation, RaYnbow Collective, USGA, and Cougar Pride Center, put together resource pamphlets for students that identify with LGBTQ+ and included them in the freshman gift bags.

“Residence Life and New Student Orientation were not involved in preparing these bags and were not aware of the contents until after they had been distributed to some on-campus resident halls,” said Carri Jenkins, a spokeswoman for BYU. “The decision to remove the materials by Student Life was based on the University’s commitment to provide support through the Office of Belonging and our counseling services and not to allow outside entities to imply affiliation with or endorsement from the university.”

The UVU Review sat down with a BYU First-Year Experience supervisor, Bryce Bunting, to understand better what efforts are made to encourage belonging for all students at BYU. “Every first year student has a peer mentor that is there not as an expert in all things but to help the student get connected with other resources on campus so if a student came to their mentor and said ‘I’m gay and that’s a challenge here at BYU for me what sorts of things would you recomend?’ They would of course ask lots of questions and do a lot of listening to understand the situation better but they might connect the student with, for example, the office of belonging.”

At the office of Belonging BYU has counselors whose primary role is to help students who are feeling that they do not belong. Whether that is because they are a student of a different ethnicity, they identify with the LGBTQ+ community or otherwise.

The decision to remove the LGBTQ+ resource pamphlets has not been well received by many in the community. The Out Foundation posted on their page, “A unilateral decision was made against our contract to pull the items and throw them away. We are currently in conversations with BYU to figure out amends and how to move forward.”

The UVU Review is looking forward to interviewing representatives from BYU and the Out Foundation to understand better what went into this decision and what affects it has on the LGBTQ community at BYU. For LGBTQ+ UVU students looking for help and belonging visit the Student Services page for resources.

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