Deseret News, Wednesday, December 18, 2002


By Jeffrey P. Haney
Deseret News staff writer

PROVO  Brigham Young University has raised the red flag on the use of 
real-to-life Hollywood flicks to illustrate historical events. 


Professors at BYU this semester started following a policy that 
discourages showing R-rated movies in classes at the school owned by the 
LDS Church, whose members are counseled by top church leaders to avoid 
films with excessive gore, violence, profanity or nudity.


The guideline  created to set boundaries for visual and literary 
materials used in class  says faculty should not "require students to 
view unedited R-rated movies, as a matter not simply of content but of 
obedience to prophetic counsel."


The two-page statement urges professors to pick films, books, poems, 
paintings, music and sculptures that are "appropriate to BYU's mission 
and teach them in ways that invite the spirit of God into the 
classroom."


"It is important to help students not only to understand the world but 
to stand firm against its evils  prepared to respond to its challenges 
with love, testimony, wisdom, eloquence and inspired artistry of their 
own," the policy says.


BYU spokeswoman Carri P. Jenkins said, to her knowledge, faculty won't 
be disciplined if they don't adhere to the guidelines.


The selection of visual and literary materials "will depend on the 
wisdom of the faculty," said Jenkins.


But BYU's guideline tells departments to "counsel" with professors who 
"repeatedly choose inappropriate materials or who present materials in 
inappropriate ways."


Students who object to material being used in class on moral grounds can 
ask to be given another assignment. If the professor declines, the 
student can take up the matter with the chairman of the academic 
department and college dean.


"With this, there's a lot of invitation for discussion," said John S. 
Tanner, chairman of BYU's English department.


Tanner, who helped cobble the guideline together using input from 
faculty meetings and previous policies used in the College of 
Humanities, said he hasn't received any feedback  for or against  on 
the guidelines.


BYU bosses say the guideline will be reviewed in two years.


Questions about classroom use of films that had been edited for content 
swirled after BYU's Varsity Theater stopped showing edited versions of 
R-rated movies in 1998.


BYU's decision not to book edited and airline versions of R-rated movies 
came after an American Fork movie theater came under legal fire for 
snipping scenes from "Titanic."


Controversy also enveloped nudity-sensitive BYU in 1997 when officials 
opted not to show four nude statues in an exhibit of works by French 
sculptor Francois-Auguste-Rene Rodin.

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