Tunnel of Oppression

Tunnel of Oppression 2017 aims to strengthen human relations

Tunnel of Oppression tours will be conducted Jan. 29-31 in Ensminger Pavilion at Washington State University to encourage participants to learn new perspectives from others different from themselves. Daily tours will begin at 4 p.m. with the final tour starting at 8 p.m.

The free event was created in 2001 to encourage dialogue; it is especially important after the presidential campaign has left the country deeply divided, said Brandon Brackett, assistant director of WSU Residence Life .

“We want to role model for people what good, mature dialogue looks like in an environment where everyone can feel safe,” he said. “The Tunnel of Oppression will expose you to new ideas and perspectives, and hopefully prime the pump that will set you on a new path of self-discovery.”

This year’s tunnel will use a museum format: Visitors will move at their own pace through different rooms themed to controversial topics. Participants will learn about resources that can help them better navigate similar situations in the future.

The Tunnel of Oppression is sponsored by Residence Life in partnership with International Programs and the Office of Multicultural Student Services.


History of Tunnel of Oppression at WSU

The first WSU Tunnel of Oppression was in Spring 2004. Hosted in the basement of Wilmer-Davis Residence Hall, approximately 225 WSU community members attended over a two day span. In 2005 and 2006 it was hosted in Beasley Coliseum and in 2006 we hosted over 400 people in three nights.

The 2007 and 2008 Tunnels welcomed over 600 attendees to Stephenson South and McCroskey hall, respectively. In 2009, it returned to McCroskey hall and again, 600 members of our WSU community were exposed to the thought provoking materials. In 2010, Tunnel made an appearance at Ensminger Pavilion and once again over 600 participants partook in the experience. Since 2011 the Tunnel of Oppression is now housed in Gannon Goldsworthy Hall and reaches over 600 members of the WSU and Pullman community. Over 1,000 people attended Tunnel 2013.

The Tunnel of Oppression is nationally used as an educational tool. It reportedly originated in 1993 at Western Illinois University, but now exists in a variety of formats, exploring an even wider variety of topics related to oppression. Our hope is that through learning facts about systems of oppression and emotionally experiencing it in a safer environment, we will encourage and empower individuals to make choices that reduce the power these systems have on all of us, regardless of our backgrounds.

Comments From Participants

"It was valuable for me to learn about the amount of people affected by oppression and read some of their stories."

"A very touching thing to have - The Tunnel of Oppression makes a strong point."

"I realized I sometimes stereotype and I want to stop."

"Getting to experience the realism of each situation was extremely powerful."

"I saw things through other peoples' eyes."

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