‘Mormon Land’: Feds have cleared BYU, but is BYU in the clear?

LGBTQ, race and free speech issues threaten the Provo school’s academic reputation and standing.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune A file photo of the Brigham Young statue at BYU. The Provo campus is grappling with a range of challenges.

Coming into 2022, Brigham Young University faced a federal investigation about its discrimination against LGBTQ students, allowing heterosexual couples to exhibit “romantic behavior,” while forbidding the same for same-sex couples.

Eventually, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights dismissed the investigation, saying the Provo school, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is exempt from federal laws prohibiting gender-based discrimination. These exemptions began in 1976 under then-BYU President Dallin Oaks.

Other issues have since surfaced at the faith’s flagship campus — such as canceling gender-affirming voice therapy for transgender clients, placing stricter limits on protests, and dealing with fallout from a controversial speech by religion professor Brad Wilcox.

On this week’s show, Michael Austin, a BYU alumnus and executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of Evansville, a Methodist school in Indiana, talks about the challenges facing BYU and its academic standing.

Listen here:

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