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At Brigham Young, Students Push to Lift Ban on Beards

PROVO, Utah — The dark pants, tightly knotted ties and crisp white shirts that once defined the Mormon man are nearly absent at Brigham Young University, the Mormon school that dominates this city.

Instead, the young men crisscrossing this campus look a lot like everyone else: They wear skinny jeans and flannel tops, gym shorts and sweatshirts. They are preppy, sporty and hipster; buzzed, shaggy and mustachioed. Beards, however, remain few and far between.

This is because Brigham Young bans all chin hair (mustaches are fine), a rule set in place in the 1970s when school officials sought to distinguish their strait-laced students from the hippies staging demonstrations across the nation. And in recent years, even as beards have moved from hipster calling cards to mainstream accessories — and as the university has worked to hone its contemporary image — the beard ban has not budged.