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BYU Black Student Union members react to Brad Wilcox remarks


Screenshot of speech given by BYU professor Brad Wilcox. (Screenshot courtesy YouTube){p}{/p}
Screenshot of speech given by BYU professor Brad Wilcox. (Screenshot courtesy YouTube)

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Members of the Brigham Young University Black Student Union are reacting to recent controversial remarks by Latter-day Saint leader and BYU professor Brad Wilcox.

"I was very disappointed," said sophomore Sebastian Stewart-Johnson. "I wasn’t too surprised."

"It just felt like once again, here we go with another religion professor saying something that’s not appropriate," said Rachel Weaver, who will graduate this year.

Opinions on whether Wilcox should keep his job at the school are mixed. Stewart-Johnson, Weaver, and Weaver's brother Ronald Weaver III, all said it wasn't up to them, but that accountability was needed. The union's president, Nate Byrd, was more precise.

“I don’t think he needs to resign,” Byrd said. “I don’t think he needs to be fired or anything like that. I just think he needs to be aware that his words have consequences and that he needs to focus more using the scriptures in the things that he says, as opposed to just expressing his opinions.”

The union's other members also expressed misgivings with how they perceive Wilcox, and other religious professors, teaching classes with opinions as opposed to just doctrine-based curriculum.

"Clearly the church needs to have some training of some sort within leadership of what should and shouldn’t be said," said Weaver. "Because clearly, free rein is happening in comments from years past that the church claims to disavow, but are being taught on the pulpit from individuals."

"They don’t have a lot of supervision, so they say a lot of things that I don’t necessarily agree with very often," said Stewart-Johnson.

The comments from the Black Student Union members came after the discovery of a second video, where Wilcox can be heard talking about the issue of when Black members were able to receive the priesthood.

Shortly after 2News spoke to Byrd, a third video also came to light, showing Wilcox making similar statements. It’s unclear when or where the third video was taken, but it appears it was uploaded to YouTube on Feb. 2.

“There’s been a lot of, I guess you could say, outrage and frustration, and also a little bit of satisfaction because this is something that’s been going on for a long time,” said Byrd. “This is not the first time that he’s made those remarks, but it is the first time there’s been some of accountability for it.”

Weaver III acknowledged previous written apologies from Wilcox but said those apologies have fallen short so far.

"Personally I would like Brad Wilcox to apologize to the Black Student Union," he said. "I would like him to apologize at the perspectives there for his comments, because that will show people that he is actually trying and he’s genuinely engaged."

The union members also want The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the issue. The university is owned by the Church, and Wilcox holds a significant leadership position in the Church as the Second Councilor in the Young Men General Presidency.

"I think this falls on the church and since the church and BYU are so intertwined, I don’t feel like you can separate the two," said Weaver.

A BYU representative referred 2News to previous tweets in which the school expressed concern over Wilcox's comments.

A representative for the Church declined comment when 2News reached out.

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