Mormon Hipsters Are Politely Protesting BYU's Beard Ban

Illustration for article titled Mormon Hipsters Are Politely Protesting BYUs Beard Ban

WHAT DO WE WANT? BEARDS! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? WHENEVER THE BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION DEEMS IT APPROPRIATE.

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Students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah are currently in a polite uproar over the institution's long-standing ban on beards. The school, which is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, forbids facial hair, tattoos, alcohol consumption and premarital sex.

As Shane Pittson — a student who has been organizing protests against BYU's no beard rule — told The Salt Lake Tribune, "I love BYU. I love being a student here. But the rule on beards I find particularly outdated."

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Facial hair was first banned on campus in the 1940s and again in the 1970s when BYU's then-president Dallin Oaks stated that beards were representative of "protest, revolution and rebellion against authority. They are also symbols of hippie and drug culture." (In other words, exactly what most kids go to college for.)

Oaks was partially right. The modern day beard craze has driven 50-odd students to protest and petition, all for the right to be follicularly on-trend.

Late last week, dozens of students — all on bikes, skateboards or roller blades (the rebellion begins!) — gathered for a demonstration. Many, however, arrived clean-shaven.

"I figured it would make more of an impact to say, 'I respect the university and here I am abiding by the rules but asking for change,'" Pittson told reporters.

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The administration remains unmoved.

"It's nothing against beards," university spokeswomen Carri Jenkens stated. "It's just how we choose to represent ourselves at the university."

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From his planet in the heavens, bearded Brigham Young disagrees.

Image via Getty.

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DISCUSSION

The hipster Mormon trend is so fascinating to me. So many Mormons seem to have really embraced it, and I just want to know why, because I usually associate the beards and skinny jeans and mason jars with my super-liberal fellow Brooklynites, not an extremely conservative religion. I have a weird addiction to Mormon mommy blogs (I don't know why?), and it always catches me by surprise when it's like page after page after page of typical crunchy NYC mom stuff and then all the sudden you come to a post where they announce they're having their fourth kid and just turned 25.