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Fired for cussing at BYU?

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PROVO — A BYU student says he lost his part-time job on campus because someone heard him say a word of profanity after he bumped his shin.

"He spoke to me about the incident, and before I knew I was fired, I was apologizing because I didn't want to make the same mistake," Brian Devine said.

Devine knows what he said last Monday was anything but divine, after he injured himself while delivering packages on campus.

"The cart slipped, and I hit my shin on the cart, and all the packages fell over, and I just let out an expletive," he explained.

BYU is about helping students learn and progress, but there is this counter-atmosphere where a lot of people just want to condemn and try to pretend like everybody's perfect, and they're obviously not. I'm not perfect.

–Brian Devine

Define said he doesn't want to really talk about the specific word he used, except he didn't say "fudge."

He didn't think much of what he said and continued making his deliveries. But things changed at the end of his shift about an hour later.

"When I got back to work my manager spoke with me and he let me know someone had heard me and complained about it," Devine said. "And he pretty much said that was the reason they were letting me go."

Instead of quietly walking away with his pink slip, Devine wrote a letter to the editor of the BYU newspaper, lamenting the reason he was fired.

BYU officials say they can't talk about personnel matters, but suggested there were other reasons Devine was let go.

"I can say the account being given is inaccurate and incomplete," said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins. "In looking at any type of termination, what the university looks at is a pattern of work behavior and different types of behavior."

Devine says he hopes sharing his story will, in his words, help BYU to "lighten up."

"I think BYU is about helping students learn and progress," he said, "but there is this counter-atmosphere where a lot of people just want to condemn and try to pretend like everybody's perfect, and they're obviously not. I'm not perfect."

He says he knows he shouldn't have blurted out what he did, and he still loves the school. But he feels dismissing him for one infraction isn't a fair representation of what happens at the university. "I think it was the rash decision of one person," he said.

Devine remains a student at BYU and says he hasn't heard a word from the BYU Honor Code Office about his slip of the tongue.

BYU officials say he is welcome to apply for a new job on campus, it just has to be in a different department.

Some students commenting on his letter to the BYU Universe say they support his firing. They say he agreed to the honor code and broke the rules, so he should suffer the consequence.

Others say it was unfortunate and didn't think swearing once should have led to his firing. They also say people were too quick to judge.


Story written by Sam Penrod and Paul Nelson.

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