Under the University's honour code, students cannot grow a beard unless they are exempt, citing medical or religious reasons.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founded the Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1875. To ensure "modesty and spiritual cleanliness", BYU follows the rigid grooming guidance of the Mormon Church. The University bans students from growing a beard and expects men and women to have a "clean and neat" hairstyle with no "extreme styles or colors."
However, in 2014, Shane Pittson, a 23-year-old student of BYU started a petition to allow students to grow beards. After being forced to shave his beard, Pittson created a website and received the support of approximately 30,000 students. For Pittson and many others, facial hair plays a vital role in expressing one's personality. Other students, including Hammad Javed, who belong to a different faith, also struggled with the ban on beards. After being unable to access essential facilities such as the library due to his beard, Javed was forced to shave his facial hair.
Following the student protests in 2015, the school officials altered the beard policy. According to the new policy, students can formally petition for exemptions based on medical grounds, involvement in a performance or a theatrical production, or religion.
Speaking to the Washington Post, BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins, said that although students have to provide a genuine doctor's prescription to cite medical reasons, in the end, it is entirely down to the University's discretion.