The TCU Tunnel of Oppression is an event that aims to deepen students’ understanding of oppressed groups in society. Ten organizations sponsored rooms in the Tunnel of Oppression that covered a variety of topics such as domestic violence, education oppression, Black Lives Matter and others.
Organization members decorated their respective rooms and gave short explanations of the oppressed groups they were representing. All of the organizations offered education about their focus groups, and some gave students the opportunity to get involved.
A volunteer guide led participants through each of the rooms, and groups ended the tunnel with a discussion facilitated by a TCU staff member. The facilitated discussion is for students to decompress after the tunnel and talk about how they plan to use their newfound knowledge about oppression.
“[The tunnel] helps students to become more aware of problems around the world,” first-year student Lee McMullin said.
The contributing organizations used quotes, images and videos to educate students about the oppressed groups in society.
One organization performed a skit for groups going through the tunnel to raise awareness about sexual violence.
“It’s kind of a sobering reality,” said facilitator Andrew Nash. “TCU talks about learning to change the world so that ‘change’ part is really important.”
The tour of the tunnel and the discussion afterward took 20 minutes, but the wait time to enter the event was more than an hour. Volunteers and staff who were running the event were surprised by the event’s popularity with the student body.
“I was waiting for almost two hours to even enter the tunnel,” said sophomore Stephanie Hinchey. “It’s frustrating to wait in a line for that long especially when you have so many other things to be doing for school.”
A student who helped organize the Tunnel of Oppression in 2014 said the total student attendance for that event was much less than this year’s outcome.
Volunteers attempted to entertain the students during their long wait to enter the tunnel with activities in the gallery of the Brown-Lupton University Union. The activities, like a superhero wall and a photo booth, were used to promote unity and awareness through the words of other students.
The next Tunnel of Oppression is planned for spring 2018.