Eyes wide shut: Blindfold facilitates talk

Jed Dean | Lariat Photo Editor
Students anonymously attend the fourth annual “Blinded” event, hosted by the office of the external vice president on Tuesday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Students were blindfolded, seated and then joined by a member of the Baylor faculty who facilitated open discussion on race, ethics, religion, politics, gender, sexuality and socioeconomic status.

By Will DeWitt

Baylor Student Government hosted the fourth annual “Blinded” event in Barfield Drawing Room on Tuesday in a continued effort to encourage discussion between students on controversial topics.

The event centers on the concept that when students are blindfolded, their conversations become more frank and open.

“It’s so powerful how they will share their ideas and feelings and then all of a sudden the blindfolds are taken off and they stop talking about the issues,” said Kathryn Mueller, senior lecturer of sociology and part-time lecturer of civic education and community service. “To get them to share for a few minutes is kind of like having Camelot.”

Participants discussed topics that range from religious views, to women in the work force, to sexuality on campus and nearly every controversial subject in between. A professor or staff member who teaches in these fields led each discussion to ensure that students remain on topic and that the conversation is constructive. The myriad of different opinions offered a glimpse into diversity and how paramount it is to understand one another.

“We can really examine the diversities not only in our students’ lives but society as a whole,” Mueller said.

This year 90 students participated, more than twice as many as last year, and each participant learned something about how he or she communicates.

“It’s just interesting to hear other people’s views, especially when we’re blinded, because everyone opens up so fast,” said Chicago freshman Madeline Mohr. “It’s something that’s effective.”

Dr. Jonathan Tran, assistant professor of religion at Baylor, closed out the event with a discussion on how to use these different views and how to stand up for one another against discrimination not only at Baylor but also in the world.

“This event is only meant to be a starting point for discussion, a spark,” said Cristina Galvan, student body external vice president and Houston junior.

“Blinded” gave students the unique chance to both hear and be heard on topics they might normally avoid.

“Just to hear the honesty, what a difference a blindfold makes,” Mueller said.