By Kent Larsen
BYU Suspends Two 'Chaste' Homosexuals
PROVO, UTAH -- Two men suspended for homosexuality by BYU criticized
their suspensions in a Salt Lake Tribune article today. Richard
"Ricky" Escoto and Matthew Grierson claim that they were suspended
despite refraining from sexual encounters and say BYU chose to
believe in alleged romantic encounters that they deny. BYU's
suspension letters specify incidents in which both men allegedly had
amorous contact with other men, or visited homosexual internet chat
Escoto says that he felt that the LDS Church's position on
homosexuality was benevolent, and thought he was keeping the rules,
"I figured as long as I remained chaste the church would welcome me."
But, he says, he confided in a roommate about his "same sex issues"
and was soon called into BYU's Honor Code Office and confronted with
charges that he received gifts from other men, visited gay-oreinted
chat rooms, went on dates with other men and was discovered "making
out" with a man. Escoto denies all the charges but the Honor Code
Office chose to believe roommates that Escoto calls "bigoted." "Their
official stance is that they don't need further proof. They just need
to determine it to be more probable or not."
Grierson withdrew from BYU, giving up a full academic scholarship,
rather than face a two-semester suspension like Escoto. He was
accused of kissing a man on campus and of holding a man's hand at a
Provo mall, but he admits only to the latter. BYU would not release
details of either man's case, nor comment on them, citing privacy
laws and University policy.
The suspension letters sent to both men make it clear that BYU's view
of behavior that violates the honor code is much more strict than
they understood. The letters demand tha the men refrain from
"inappropriate same-sex behavior, including but not limited to
dating, holding hands, kissing, romantic touching, showering,
clubbing, etc., as well as regular association with homosexual men."
In addition, the letters require that the men meet with approved
counselors and meet regularly with religious leaders. The letters
also remind the men that it is "inappropriate for a BYU student to
advocate for the [homosexual] lifestyle, speak or write papers for
public consumption, demonstrate in a public forum, or advertise your
same-sex preference in any other public way."
BYU Brass Suspend Two Gays
Salt Lake Tribune 29Mar01 D3
By Kirsten Stewart: Salt Lake Tribune
2 gay students at Y. are forced to leave
Deseret News (AP) 29Mar01 D2