Sexual assault gained attention on the campus when the Salt Lake Tribune published a story about students who said that the university had subjected them to honor-code proceedings after they reported that they had been sexually assaulted.
The student at the center of the story, Madi Barney, started a petition urging the university not to investigate rape victims for violations of the honor code, which bans premarital sex. She later filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
An online petition service known as Care2 organized a demonstration on the university's campus to protest the administration's handling of sexual-assault cases. Utah's Department of Public Safety also opened an investigation into the actions of BYU's campus police force.
After the controversy over its handling of Ms. Barney's case, the university said it would "study" issues surrounding the relationship between its Title IX and honor-code offices. In doing so, the university acknowledged what it called an "inherent tension" in the "two important parts of BYU’s efforts to create and maintain an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of the Church." The university also created a website to collect feedback on issues related to sexual assault.
The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault and collected resources online.
The university said in August 2016 that this investigation stemmed from a complaint that had been filed four months earlier. BYU did not comment on the details of the complaint, but said it took reported sexual assaults "extremely seriously."
Do codes of conduct, especially those at faith-based institutions, discourage students from speaking up about sexual assault? The university is wrestling with that question as it investigates one student who reported a rape.