The Tunnel of Oppression started with the rise of oppression; an elevator ride up that was covered in Graffiti with the opportunity to add to it. There were six rooms in total. All of them were poignant and some were unbelievably powerful.
The first was the “Racism” room by Mu Theta and the Drama Club. It was a far too common occurrence of introducing an African American friend to a very closed minded friend and that friend being horribly offensive in commentary and telling a racist joke ending with it heading towards a fight
The second was the “Sexism” by Alpha Sigma. It started with that Family Guy clip many of us have seen that is a horribly outdated sexism education tape. Then, they screen shows several statistics about how while sexism is starting to fade it has a long ways to go in this country.
Pi Nu Epsilon did the “Domestic Violence” room. For me, this was one of the more powerful and haunting rooms. The room was covered with women’s names that had died from domestic abuse, photos of domestic abuse, and bloody clothes and sheets. In the room, there is a 911 call of a small child that still haunts me four days later. I shed a tear.
“Struggles of Being Gay” room put on by Mu Theta was next. This room had photos all over the walls and was another film room. Starting with ridiculous untrue “facts” that people claim about gays and then true facts about what it is like for gays. Then we are to look around the room and see we are all alike, with the very divisive Sarah Palin also on the wall.
Civic Engagement’s “Effects of Depression” room was a powerful two skit room. There was a sad scene of a party where one girl gets made fun of for being fat and then looks sadly in the mirror pinching the parts women are concerned with being fat. Then, a student dealing with actually seeing his brother dies in a car accident and resorting to cutting himself to relieve the pain inside.
The last room of the Oppression Tunnel haunts me and I have not stopped talking about it since. It was Psi Sigma Psi’s “Rape” room in the
bathroom. It had photos and statements on the wall, dimly lit and two girls sitting in the tub. They play audio of both of the girls telling about what they went through when they were raped. Their strength haunts me, and it is the second room I cried in.
After all of this intensity, we went down the “Stairs of Enlightenment” to the “Hope” room. This room is the opportunity to discuss the emotions that were brought up by the tunnel with professionals. All in all, the tunnel served its intention to the very letter and was fantastically done and as powerful as it could have possibly been. With the help of Liz Raterman, Director of Multicultural Affairs two students Jeremy Mieczkowski and Liz Yetter helped plan and coordinate Tunnel of Oppression. Planning had started in Fall 2011 and led up to the event itself. The two student chairs also had help from their fellow peers, Hannah Conrad, Racheal Jones, Amber Alvarenga and Emily Crocker.
Do you have any concerns about safety on campus? Do you have suggestions on how to make Alfred State even safer? If so, please drop the Campus Safety Advisory Committee a message. We are committed to your safety!