Think for yourself

By , , and

I grew up a BYU fan.

For many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who live outside of Utah, loyalty to BYU is synonymous with faithfulness. The fewer articles of clothing you have sporting the logo, the more suspect your temple recommend becomes.

After moving to Utah 10 years ago, I couldn’t believe there were bishops who cheered for the U.

It just goes to show the power of groupthink. Everyone I interacted with on Sundays and at church activities cheered for BYU, so I did too. I didn’t know any better.

It took me years to realize that good Mormons could hate BYU. After my first year at Weber State University, I talked to friends about their first year at the Y and heard how they all hated it. It was then that I set my sights on the U and never looked back.

Groupthink is dangerous because it happens when members of a group rely on the views and experiences of each other instead of their own in developing opinions. The majority opinion is assumed to be true. It’s a form of mob mentality.

When individuals seek to form their own opinions, the groupthink generally breaks down.

Chronicle writer Shawn Mansell recently experienced this when several sorority women refused to treat him like a human being.

Mansell was assigned to accept an invitation from Nakita Swanigan, Theta Nu Xi’s education chairwoman, to attend a meeting between fraternities and sororities.

After introducing himself to Swanigan, Mansell took a seat in the back and pulled out his recorder and notebook.

Sorority women a few feet away pointed him out as the person from the The Chronicle and began audibly telling each other not to talk to him.

After the meeting started, a girl slipped in late and sat next to Mansell. A minute later several of her sorority sisters tapped her on the shoulder, explained that he was The Chronicle reporter and took her away to sit somewhere else.

After the meeting, Mansell tried to interview several people, most of whom ignored him.

Swanigan was the only attendee who gave him a usable quote, and he left feeling uncomfortable from all the hostility directed toward him. He has requested to never cover a greek event again.

The day after Mansell’s article attempting to report the event was published, Kim Bowman, a member of Sigma Chi, submitted a letter to the editor criticizing “the lack of coverage by the U press.”

To be fair, it is known that several members of Chi Omega disagreed with an article about their sorority that ran earlier in the year and several members of the greek community objected to a headline for a story about a charity event.

Neither of these things, however, justify the dehumanizing treatment Mansell received after accepting an invitation to cover an event.

It is unlikely that any of the sorority women who were so rude to Mansell would be able to offer a logical reason for doing so.

Let this be an example to all of the importance of avoiding a mob mentality when forming views on issues, or people.

Individuals must make their own inquiries and analyze their own experiences when deciding how to react in certain situations. Otherwise they end up treating innocent people in despicable ways.

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