For the ninth year, Texas Tech University is hosting the Tunnel of Oppression, an event where students are immersed first-hand in different forms of oppression through interactive acting, hearing monologues and multimedia presentations.
The Tunnel is from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23 in the Red Raider Ballroom at the Student Union Building. Tours begin every 10 minutes and take between 45 and 60 minutes to complete. Due to limited space, reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome.
“The purpose of the event is to expose students to the fact that oppression and discrimination do occur at Texas Tech and in Lubbock, but there is something the community can do about it,” said Dustin Grabsch, residence life coordinator.
In the Tunnel, participants face different scenes of oppression, including: ability, class, body image, immigration, homophobia, religious oppression, relationship violence, sexism and race. The scenes are derived from actual student experiences on the Texas Tech campus and in Lubbock.
Texas Tech students volunteer and act out the different scenes throughout the Tunnel. Debrief facilitators are graduate students, full-time staff, faculty or counselors.
After going through the Tunnel and experiencing different forms of oppression, a debriefing session is held, in which a trained facilitator explains to participants what they witnessed and how they can interrupt forms of discrimination and oppression in the future.
“The level of dialogue and sharing by tunnel participants after they go through it is outstanding,” Grabsch said, “The experience is very eye-opening for many and it’s great to hear about their innovative action plans to stop future acts of oppression and bias here at Texas Tech and in Lubbock.”
The Tunnel is a campus grassroots diversity program originating in 1993 at Western Illinois University. The campus used the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles as a model.
Justin Louder, assistant vice provost for the Texas Tech Ethics Center, took his Raider Ready class to the Tunnel last fall.
“The Tunnel of Oppression pushes people’s boundaries as they go through it while eliciting discussion,” Louder said. “It opened the student’s eyes to see different things and was a rich opportunity for growth in the students.”
The event is sponsored by the Social Justice Education committee with financial partnerships with University Student Housing, the Residence Hall Association, Department of Theatre & Dance, Multicultural Advocates and the Center for Campus Life. The committee also partners with Tech Activities Board, Women’s Studies Program, Greek Life, Student Counseling Center, Undergraduate Education & student Affairs, Raider Ready, and Cross-Cultural Academic Advancement Center to help with volunteer recruitment and marketing.