‘Bike for Beards’ event part of BYU students’ fight for facial hair freedom

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PROVO, Utah -- When you think of Brigham Young University, you don't think of beards. Male students have been banned from having facial hair since the 1970s, but a group of students and beard supporters want that to change.

Shane Pittson organized the Bike for Beards event Friday night. He said he loves riding his bike and also likes growing a beard, so he combined the two to show his support for changing the dress code policy to allow facial hair.

Pittson said the rule requiring male students to be clean cut can be a major inconvenience.

"That could mean shaving twice a day, that could mean shaving every day, every other day," he said.

A group of people, mostly students--some with beards and many clean cut--signed a petition and rode their way to the administration building on campus Friday with a message.

Senior Erik Heathcote said, "We are a church school and even the temple, which is considered the most sacred place for Mormons, they don't have any restriction--so why is the university seeking to be more holy than a temple?"

Heathcote has a beard and he said the reception on campus has been mostly positive. A sign, he believes, the BYU community is ready for this change.

"I've had plenty of students being like, 'Hey nice beard dude' and I even had a couple professors from time to time telling me, 'oh nice,'" Heathcote said.

There were also women involved in Friday’s event. Freshman Paige Taylor said she prefers men with facial hair and thinks the rule banning beards is odd.

"There's nothing in the Mormon religion that says that facial hair is going against what we believe in, so I personally believe it shouldn't be part of the honor code," she said.

Pittson added, "We would love to see men on campus be able to have that decision to do what they want with that."

FOX 13 News called BYU officials. They were aware of the “Bike For Beards” event but didn't want to comment, saying only that being clean cut is part of the university's dress and grooming policy and that's how they choose to have students represent the school.

The school allows students to apply for a medical exemption to the rule against beards by visiting with a doctor at the University's Student Health Center, click here for details. The center states on their website the doctor there doesn't grant the actual exemption but  checks for the presence of a "serious skin condition". Click here further details relating to the requirements and approval process.


  • Erik Heathcote

    Thanks for the chance to talk with you Annie. It was good to get some media coverage of an issue that needs to be discussed in the open instead of constantly silenced by the administration. Hope to see some great change in the future! Thanks again!

  • Elisabeth J.

    i feel that the men protesting will have little effect on changing the BYU rule. Perhaps, the females who support this effort for change should lend a hand…or leg ;-) the Female students should STOP shaving in support for a change, wearing skirts to show their support. Embarrassing, but change may come quickly. :-)

  • Common Sense

    Is it that hard to show simple respect for their rules??? You are simply a 4 year old PRINCE who should just go to another college… problem solved !!!!

    • Bob

      At one time Edwin Firmage was an LDS Bishop. Like so many before him, and like so many to come he renounced his religion and became an apostate. Can you ever fully trust a man who renounces what he once testified was true?

    • bob

      I just remember when Ed used to run for public office every election cycle as a fringe candidate. I miss those days. LOL! He was the comic relief of Utah politics. Him and Cleon Skousen.

      As for the beards: First of all, BYU is a private institution, and every one of those guys signed a contract. They knew exactly what they were doing. I’d never go to BYU, for this reason among others, but I have ZERO sympathy for anyone who signs a contract and then thinks the world owes it to him to let him do as he pleases.

      Beyond that, I think it’s pretty sad that college students have nothing more serious to worry about than beards. Pretty sheltered little lives they lead these days. Life is going to stomp a mud hole in them when they get into the real world.

  • Common Sense

    Stay with Mommy and Daddy in your ” Entitled ” Arrogant little world..They will listen to you pout and throw a tantrum!

  • Dallin

    If you want to wear a beard, go to another school. The honor code is the way it is, all of the students know that when they apply. If you don’t like the way the school runs, then don’t go!

  • Taner

    Honestly I don’t get why they’re complaining it’s just shaving it’s not a big deal to shave, in fact a large number of employers have a similar dress and grooming standard to BYU’s , complaining about shaving every day is ridiculous since most guys just do it anyways, why are they wasting the energy to protest something that’s honestly not a big deal at all

  • Roberta Putman

    In my opinion BYU has some of the most outrageous dress code policies this is just another one of them. Change is definitely needed there.

    • Bob

      Your right Roberta. Besides the beards they don’t even allow binge drinking, illegal drugs, and they expect you to keep you clothes on around your boyfriend. Outrageous is right!!

  • bob

    Part of the reason for BYU’s standards is to teach the kids that the world does not revolve around them.

    They signed a contract. They knew exactly what the standards are and they agreed to them. In writing.

    Quite whining and read a book.

    • Bob

      Actually it was Joseph Smith that was the founder of their religion. And yes, Brigham Young had a beard. He also rode in a wagon. Times change. What’s your point?

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